What is Composting?
Composting is a biological process where bacteria, fungi (microbes), and other organisms decompose organic materials. The composting is a natural process but we control it to get desired results. Once composting finishes the end product is compost or humus.
Humus is dark brown material –it is chemical free, economical and environment friendly.
Organic Compost – Ingredients
The basic ingredients for composting is Feedstock (with appropriate C:N ratio), Moisture, Oxygen and temprature.
The quality of feedstock will determine final Quality of your compost. All organic material are suitable for composting. But composition needs to be carefully selected. The supply of carbon (C) relative to nitrogen (N) is an important quality of compost feedstocks. The ideal starting range is C:N 20:1 to 40:1.
Following material are high in Carbon: Hay, Straw, Fall leaves, Sawdust, wood chips, Newspaper, Cardboard.
Material High in Nitrogen: Dairy manure, Poultry manure, Vegetable wastes, Grass clippings, Sewage sludge.
No OIL / FATS / MEAT should be used. Animal waste of carnivorous animals should not be used.
Ideally moisture content should be such if you squeeze handful of mixture hand should get wet (two-three drops not more).
Moisture regulates temperature of compost pile. If moisture is too less it will slow down composting process by heating the pile too much. Also if moisture is too high the pile will cool down too much. If moisture is high it will make fill in all space for air and your pile will become smelly. Pieces of Newspaper, Saw dust and cardboard can be added to bring down moisture level.
Air (Oxygen) is important for microbes to work and break down organic material in pile. Compositing process will occur under anaerobic conditions, but the process is slow and will produce foul odours.
Oxygen is added to a compost pile by turning regularly.
A well-turned compost pile can reach up to 150ºF. Ideal range of temperature is between 90º and 140ºF for a compost pile. Moisture and temperature are interrelated, if moisture content is in range temperature will have no issues. The indication of your compost pile being a proper level of moisture and temperature is its smell. It will have nice earthy smell indicating your composting pile is going fine.
Steps to create Compost Pile
- Add all feedstock in a barrel and Mix everything.
- This mixture should be mixed once every day. Ensure it is not press so that air remains in this mixture.
- Ensure this mixture remains moist. Don’t add to much of water.
- In Couple of weeks this mixture will turn into crumbly brown matter.
- This brown material is compost and can be used as manure.