Last week we started the incredibly comprehensive guide to composting from Steve Cownley. This week we have the rest of that article. My own observation is simply to take care where you place your compost bin or heap. My own heap was terrific – saved loads of trips to the landfill site. Only trouble was, the heap just grew and grew. We had little access to the sides or bottom of the heap once it was in use and there was no easy way to get the compost out again. 😳
Composting – is it Just a Load of Rubbish?(part 2)
The Pros of Worm Composting
The old “Eeeeeeew!” may well become one of the solutions to environmental problems and lack of nutrition in the soil. Scientists have tested this in the laboratory and have now approved of this new technique to composting: worm composting. Particularly, the red worm variety are the ones capable of doing this new feat.
Finally, they found a new way to make use of worms aside from being the main dish in Fear Factor. Some of us may have goosebumps upon imagining the sight of creepy crawlies– it truly is more than enough to give any average person the heebie jeebies. But on the up side, they have been known to help cultivate the environment for a long time. It is really no surprise to find that they play a vital role in the whole composting process.
Some of you might think that worm composting is not really such as good idea. But before you banish the idea of those red crawlies helping save the environment, take a break, open your mind and hear out some of the advantages of the now-becoming-popular worm composting technique.
Advantage Number 1: Flexible: Indoors or Outdoors, Take Your Pick
Whether you want to have your worm compost indoors or outdoors, it does not really matter. You can have them on either or on both areas. The good thing is that you won’t even have to sweat around too much with your worm compost. They are relatively easy to transport and are non-complaining workers that will till your compost day in and day out, for relatively no charge. You only have to feed them to keep them in top condition.
Advantage Number 2: All it needs is moist bedding
Worms like moisture, and having moisture is one of the easiest components of composting. If you are able to provide the moisture, you only have to wait and see until the worms do their wonders in helping you have more fertilized soil.
Advantage Number 3: Worms are readily available and are not that hard to cultivate.
In some areas, you need not look for worms. You only have to get a jar and focus your eyes while walking in the garden. Sometimes, you need not go out of the house and you can find them sauntering in your bathroom (rich in moisture, remember?). So the good thing is that they will not really resist you if you put them in a cage rich with food.
Advantage Number 4: Aside from the yuck factor, the worms will happily do the work; you only have to regulate them.
You will act more as a worm manager than a laborer, really. After you put on the heap and the worms together, you will do very minimal work for so much positive results. You can also get a lot of support from governments and people worldwide regarding this aspect. In fact, in some American communities, it is already being implemented and widely promoted to have worm composting in the home.
Advantage Number 5: Mobile bins will not affect the worms’ performance.
Another thing with the worm composting that other composting techniques don’t have is the mobility. You can take it with you anywhere, assuming that you have small scale composting on your sleeve (industrial size worm composting isn’t really a lovely idea, anyway).
Getting to Know Your Composting Equipment
The equipment you use in your composting will help make or break your pursuits of building your compost. If you are really bent on making the most of your composting goals, a good familiarization of the tools that will help you achieve your goals is very much appropriate. The tools will not necessarily be in the form of objects, because there are also elements of place and space that are in play when it comes to obtaining the optimum performance of your compost.
A Good Composting Site
The site of your composting activity is the primary consideration and one of the best tools you need to master before you do any composting activity. The place must be free from obstruction and well capable of obtaining the right temperature needed for your composting. Aside from this, you also need to be thoroughly familiar with the site which you chose for composting. In addition, you also need to be able to access the site frequently as composting requires a lot of monitoring on a frequent basis.
Your compost bin must serve the functions of the particular type of composting you intend to have. If you are up for the industrial level of composting, you may need more than one compost bin to satisfy your objectives. This compost bin needs to be cleaned every once in a while, and must be of the right size depending on the amount of materials you are to put.
Be sure that you are able to manage the compost bin you choose, and for beginners, it is often recommended to start small and then branch out once you get the hang of it or at least get comfortable with what you are working on.
Making Your Own Compost Bin
If you intend to make your own compost pile, it would be nice to make an enclosure or compost bin for your convenience and general neatness. There are a number of compost bins commercially available in various garden stores. You can buy it if you have the money or you can do what I did, make your own compost bin. It’s not difficult and the materials you need are not that many. You can do it with your eyes closed, or maybe not.
Some commercially available compost bins have their own systems or devices for turning over the compost. Some have harvesting trays or mechanisms for easier harvest. But those things are just add-ons and are made for added convenience for the consumer. You really don’t need such stuff. All you need is basic enclosures to keep the compost materials from being scattered around the area.
Possibly the only limitations you have in making your compost bin is the amount of imagination and ingenuity you have. Fortunately, you can look in your storage room or garage and look for suitable materials and most likely you will find some quite suitable ones. They can be made from heavy plastics or wood or tin. Like I said, it’s just a matter of how you handle the “paints” to create a “masterpiece”.
One of my suggestions would be using a wire mesh, a couple of wood planks or even pipes. The idea would be like creating a simple wired fence around your compost pile with the pieces of wooden plans or pipes as support. You can tie the wire mesh to the pipes or planks to make it more secure. The shape is up to you. You can make it round, square, rectangular or even triangle shaped.
Just keep in mind that you will need to have quick access to the compost pile to turn it over at least once each weak. You can create a doorway from the wire mesh or you can make your enclosure in such a way that you can easily lift and put back the whole enclosure.
Also, if you have some left over wooden slats from an old fence or wooden planks from an old shed, I’m sure you can assemble a quite sturdy compost bin in your backyard. Just make sure to let the air in by allowing spaces between the wooden boards. This will keep the air flowing inside the compost pile make decomposition quicker. If you have enough loose boards lying around, you can create a dresser-type compost bin complete with a door with hinges for easy access to the compost pile.
You can even fashion one from your garbage can. Look for an old can where you can afford to experiment without being scolded by your wife or your mother later one. What you need to do is punch a couple of holes in your garbage can to allow the air to circulate in the soon composting materials. You just put your composting materials inside the can. Before you cover it, wet the materials inside until they appear damp.
You can turn over or roll it around to let the materials mix while always keeping the compost pile damp. When storing the trashcan compost bin, if would be best to place it above ground. In a month or so, you should be able to get satisfactory results from all your effort.
You see, making your own compost bin is very easy. You just need to consider the following fundamentals: air should flow inside the bin, you should have quick access to the compost pile, and you should be able to wet the pile when needed.
Composting requires you to maintain a specific temperature. So a thermometer may come in handy for you as you do your daily rounds of inspection on your compost pit. You need to make sure that the thermometer is properly calibrated. Some shops also sell thermometer that is tailored to suit the needs of compost owners, so you can also check these out. The specifically tailored thermometers may prove to give a better advantage for you.
The garden fork has a great variety of uses. In the aspect of composting, it will really help you mix your materials especially if you are dealing with a large composting pit or bin. The garden fork will help you rake in the materials, mix them and test the texture and softness of your compost mix. For a garden rake, you must choose one that is optimum for the size of your composting operations and with a complete manual and warranty so as to maximize its usage.
You will not only need a compost bin, but if you are a sucker for combining and categorizing your materials, you may also need additional containers that can help you manage your compost materials. In cases where you need to monitor your Carbon and Nitrogen ratio components in the mix, you have make sure that you are adding the right type of materials to maintain the right temperature, mix and ratio needed.
Room for Growth
The spatial aspect of composting involves having more room for growth should you decide to pursue higher levels of composting. Your area must be spacious enough to accommodate your present composting needs, but at the same time, it must be able to hold in expansions, should you decide to increase the capacity of your compost pit.
Compost Smells: This and Other Composting Myths
Composting is a natural and simple process and yet it has been complicated by machines, fallacies, misinformation, myths, and misunderstandings that came out due to erroneous publications and aggressive commercial marketing approaches. Some of these misinformed facts have been passed around so many times that the general perception has become truth. An example would be the seemingly accepted fact that all compost smells. But before we go into that, let’s discuss some other composting myths first.
Myth: Composting requires a lot of work
Truth: Composting is a natural process which involves basically the elements of nature doing the job for you. All you need is to gather all the materials, lay it on, and let nature do her job. Composting is a low maintenance activity as well. You only need to turn the compost file every once in a while to keep the air flowing to quicken the decomposition process and that’s it. You practically sit and wait for the the compost to finish.
Myth: Composting is limited to farms and wide open spaces
Truth: On the contrary, people living in urban areas who have no luxury for space can create their own composting bin from a trash can. How much space would that take up? Also, there is another technique which you can use, the so-called vermicomposting which involves the use of red worms in a contained bin where you feed them table scraps.
Myth: Composting needs precise measurements
Truth: Even though composting ideally would be best achieved with the right combination of greens and browns elements, having the exact measurements is not that necessary. Estimates work just fine. And those neatly piled up layers of composting piles you see in commercials, books, pamphlets and brochures of composting products, those are all for show. You don’t need to copy those, composting works the same way as you pile them up haphazardly.
Myth: You need specially formulated chemicals as starters or activators
Truth: Well, despite the claims of commercially available products that applying them to the compost pile will speed up the process of decomposition, buying them is not really necessary. It is often the practice to just throw in some finished compost into the newly formed compost pile and that itself will serve as the activator to get things started. There’s no need to buy those expensive stuff.
Myth: Adding yeast will boost the compost’s performance
Truth: This is not true at all. What you’re doing is just wasting your money by adding yeast to the compost pile. Yeast does not do anything to the compost pile and neither does it affect the performance quality of the compost.
Myth: Animals are attracted to composting piles
Truth: Yes, this to some degree is true. Composting piles do attract the occasional cat, dog or raccoon. Small critters will likely go for open compost piles and for piles that have kitchen scraps like meat, fat, dairy products, bones and pet manure to the pile.
Myth: Compost smells
Truth: Compost should not smell. If you find bad smelling compost, then the maker did a poor job picking the materials for the compost pile.
Other composting myths exist and it would be best to do your research first before accepting them as truth.
Enjoy your composting
About the Author
Wide experience on many things and just publish information for fun.Experienced Salesperson and marketeer, both internet and non on-line. Web designer, very knowledgeable on PC and pc related issues, both hardware and software. Parent, driver and blogger.