Are you looking to learn how to make organic compost?
This tutorial will help you do that.
And with the best products, I have composted my own easily from organic materials that seem to be thrown away.
If you want to help your plants grow more effectively by adding compost…
Let’s jump in right now!
Table of Contents
- 1 I/ Step #1: Know What Organic Compost Is
- 2 II/ Step #2: Add Organic Compost to Your Soil Because of These Reasons
- 3 III/ Step #3: How to Compost at Home
- 3.1 1. Step 1 – Collect your organic waste
- 3.2 2. Step 2 – Classify your organic materials
- 3.3 3. Step 3 – Setup your organic compost
- 3.4 4. Step 4 – Maintain the pile
- 3.5 5. Step 5 – Harvest your completed compost
- 4 IV/ Step #4: Use Your Organic Compost
- 5 V/ Step #5: Buying Compost Starter & Gardening Tools
- 5.1 1. Compost starter
- 5.2 2. Worm castings
- 5.3 3. Compost bin
- 5.4 4. Compost tumbler
- 5.5 4. Compost thermometer
- 6 VI/ Step #6: Solving Your Compost Problems
- 6.1 1. Problems with moisture
- 6.2 2. Problems with temperature
- 6.3 3. Problems with smell
- 6.4 4. Problems with insect pests
- 6.5 5. Problems with animal pests
- 7 VII/ Step #7: Handle Some Excellent Organic Composting Tips
- 7.1 1. If possible, place your composter or compost pile near a water source.
- 7.2 2. Empty your compost pail frequently and rinse it out.
- 7.3 3. Use a pail to collect your compostable household waste, and then dump it into the compost pile.
- 7.4 4. Add layers of activator to your compost pile.
- 7.5 5. You should diversify the materials that are added to your compost.
- 7.6 6. Add a lot of material all at once rather than small amounts daily.
- 7.7 7. Plants are growing in your compost.
- 7.8 8. Check the pH again before using your organic compost.
- 7.9 9. Apply finished compost to your garden about 2-4 weeks before you plant.
- 7.10 10. Let the worms do the hard work.
- 7.11 11. Keep a compost log.
I/ Step #1: Know What Organic Compost Is
Organic compost is basically organic materials that have biodegraded or decomposed to the point where you can put it on your plant.
To gardeners, organic compost is considered “black gold” because of its many benefits and nutrients in the garden.
What does that mean?
That means you don’t need to waste your leftovers anymore.
Moreover, composting isn’t as hard as you’ve believed.
Anyone can compost as long as they understand the basics of this all-natural process.
We come with…
1. Cold composting & Hot composting
A – Cold composting
A cold composting process is primarily anaerobic. That means microorganisms thrive in an oxygen-deprived environment.
Cold composting is the best process if you do not hurry and have no time.
It breaks down organic matter slowly and is good enough if you have little organic waste to compost.
The issue with cold composting is that it produces a coarser compost with lots of large pieces of the original materials.
The cold composting process will also not reach a high enough temperature during decomposition to kill off pathogens.
Because of that, it is likely to have more nutrients than hot compost.
B – Hot composting
On the other hand, hot composting is an aerobic process (which uses oxygen) of rapid decomposition at high temperatures.
Hot composting combines carbon and nitrogen in the optimum ratio to decompose organic waste.
This decomposition is performed mainly through microorganisms adapted to working at high temperatures with the right balance of air and water.
Unlike cold composting, the high temperature of the pile will effectively destroy disease pathogens, weed seeds, weed roots, and weeds.
Moreover, this process also breaks down the organic material to produce excellent compost.
If you are determined to have your own compost ready in time, hot composting may be worth trying.
2. The composting process
The composting process involves four main components: organic matter, moisture, oxygen, and bacteria.
Organic matter includes plant materials and some animal manures.
Organic materials used for compost should include a mixture of:
- Brown organic materials: The brown materials provide carbon for your compost. This includes dead leaves, branches, twigs, and manure materials.
- Green organic materials: The green materials provide nitrogen for your compost. This includes grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, coffee grounds, fruit rinds, etc.
Moisture is essential to support the composting process, and the water provides moisture to help break down the organic matter.
You can compare your compost to the wetness of a wrung-out sponge. Because the pile is too dry, materials will decompose very slowly.
You should regularly add water to the compost pile to speed it up.
Bacteria and other microorganisms are the honest workers in the composting process, and oxygen is needed to support the breakdown of plant material by bacteria.
To supply oxygen, you will need to turn the compost pile to bring materials at the edges to the pile’s center.
When the bacteria decompose the materials, they release heat, concentrated in the pile’s center.
3. How long does your organic compost take?
The amount of time your organic compost needs depends on the size of the compost pile, the types of materials, the surface area of the materials, and the number of times the bank is turned.
The more giant piles (3 – 5 feet cubed or 27 – 125 cu ft) allow the pile’s center to heat up sufficiently to break down materials. Smaller banks will take longer to produce finished compost.
The more brown organic materials the pile has, the more time it may take to finish. You should speed up the process by adding more green materials or a fertilizer with nitrogen.
The ideal ratio of carbon to nitrogen in the compost materials needs to be between 2.5 to 3 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen by weight (2.5:1 – 3:1).
By breaking materials down into smaller parts (chipping, shredding, etc.), the time needed for composting will decrease because the materials’ surface area increases.
Finally, the number of times you turn the pile will influence composting speed.
A – Cold composting
Cold composting is usually from 50 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is considered “slow” composting and is lower maintenance, so a cold pile can take 6 months to 3 years to finish composting.
You should not include weeds, meat, or dairy because the pile doesn’t really reach the desired temperature to kill its pathogens.
Moreover, cold composting is a slow anaerobic process so that nitrogen and carbon are lost to the atmosphere.
This will cause a reduction in the volume of your organic compost to 20% of the original.
B – Hot composting
For hot composting, there are 3 primary phases:
- Moderate temperature
This phase lasts for a couple of days when you start to construct a compost pile and leave it there.
The temperature reaches up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and beyond.
The rapid growth of Mesophilic bacteria and fungi breaks down soluble sugars and starches.
That’s why the temperature rises slightly.
- High temperature
This phase lasts for a few weeks. Now is the time to let the microorganisms do their job.
The hot composting process must reach 55-65 °C (131-149 °F).
When temperatures increase beyond 120 °F, thermophilic bacteria, actinomycetes, and heat-tolerant fungi will grow.
They break down proteins, fats, hemicellulose, and cellulose.
At temperatures over 65 °C (149 °F), a white “mold” spreads through the compost, which is actually some kind of anaerobic thermophilic composting bacteria.
This bacteria appears when the compost gets too hot, over 65 °C, and short of oxygen. It disappears when the temperature drops and aerobic composting bacteria again takes over.
Eventually, the organisms run out of food, so the compost pile’s temperature drops.
This phase lasts for several months.
Temperatures drop back below 140 °F, allowing mesophilic actinomycetes, bacteria, and fungi to enter the pile.
Over this several-month period, the microorganisms break down lignin and other highly resistant compounds.
Hot composting is a fast aerobic process (uses oxygen), so a given volume of compost materials produces almost the same volume of finished compost.
Finally, your organic compost is ready to use.
4. Your finished organic compost
Let me remind you that the last stage of composting is called ‘curing.’
You set aside the pile, not add to or turn, and the temperature will lower to finish the process.
This final step can take you 1 month to 1 year, depending on your type of composting technique.
You want to know approximately when your finished organic compost is ready to use, right?
There are a few things you can tell yourself when testing it:
- It looks like crumbly loam soil with dark color.
- It has a pleasant, earthy odor.
- You cannot recognize the original organic materials anymore (with a few exceptions).
- The temperature of the pile is equivalent to the ambient temperature.
With some of these signs, you can confidently judge your organic compost’s quality on your own.
If you want to know more correctly, you can check The US Composting Council Seal of Testing Assurance program for compost quality testing.
That’s all for step #1.
This step shows you what cold compost and hot compost are. You also know what precisely that process works.
Good luck with your ideas about the organic materials you want to try.
Now we move to the next step.
II/ Step #2: Add Organic Compost to Your Soil Because of These Reasons
Composting requires some effort but is a delightful job.
Organic compost will bring back many benefits once you get used to making them.
1. Reduces amount of your waste
Even if we do everything possible to decrease food waste, there will still be food scraps that cannot be consumed (e.g., a banana peel).
Composting is a great way you can do to recycle the organic waste that seems to have been thrown away.
Surprisingly, such organic waste is very valued by plants.
And you know how to do it, right?
2. Save your money
Once you know how to add nutrients to the soil, you no longer need expensive fertilizers but bet on quality.
With the money you save, you’ll invest in high-quality garden tools.
And as the crop grows, you will reduce the amount of food you have to buy from the supermarket.
That cycle will help your finances get better.
3. Improve your soil structure and nutrients
We all know organic compost improves soil health and lessens erosion.
When your soil texture is good, it will hold more nutrients.
Compost contains three primary nutrients garden crops need: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
It includes other essential elements like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc traces.
Moreover, adding compost prevents your soil from becoming too acidic or alkaline.
All those things will be the ideal environment for microorganisms.
4. Boost water retention
Research has shown the water-retaining capacities of soil increase with the addition of organic matter.
Natural proteins in compost help dirt bind together, which helps soil retain nutrients and moisture.
It means the plants that grow in that soil will need less irrigation.
Those are the benefits you get by adding compost to your garden.
You also can’t wait to try it, so let’s jump into the next step.
III/ Step #3: How to Compost at Home
Before we jump into learning how to make compost, let me remind you of some of the necessary requirements to make it successful.
- Your compost temperature is maintained between 55-65 °C (131-149 °F).
- The compost heap needs to be 1m x 1m wide and roughly 1.5m high.
- You already know microorganisms that decompose organic material need four key elements to thrive: nitrogen, carbon, air, and water.
- The ideal C: N ratio is 2.5 to 3 parts carbon for every 1 part nitrogen by weight.
After that, let’s learn how to create your own organic compost step-by-step.
1. Step 1 – Collect your organic waste
This step is effortless. You just walk around and collect all your organic waste from your kitchen or garden.
Don’t overthink. Pick up anything that you think is recyclable.
When you’re done, we’ll move to the next step.
2. Step 2 – Classify your organic materials
There is no need to be completely precise. You just need to divide your organic waste up relatively.
Dried organic material will contain a lot of carbon.
On the other hand, fresh organic material will have a lot of nitrogen.
To classify it more precisely, you can refer to the table below.
Browns = High Carbon
Dead house plants
Dried grass clippings
Paper egg cartons
Shredded brown paper bags
Greens = High Nitrogen
You should not include some materials like:
|Do not compost||Issues|
|Ashes from coal/ barbecue briquettes||Contain toxic chemicals|
|Black walnut tree leaves or twigs||Releases substances that might be harmful to plants|
|Bleached paper (eg. office paper)||Contain toxic chlorine-based chemicals|
|Citrus peels and onions||Repel earthworms. Too much, they can kill the compost bacteria|
|Cooked foods||Attracts animals|
|Dairy products||Will rot, smell unpleasant and attract pests such as rodents|
|Diseased plants||Can cause diseases to spread in the garden|
|Fat/cooking oil/grease||Attract animals and make it hard for oxygen to get through|
|Fish and meat scraps, fats, or foods containing these||Will rot, smell unpleasant and attract pests such as rodents|
|Glass||Cannot be decomposed|
|Glossy or coated paper (eg. magazines)||Contain toxic chemicals|
|Metals||Cannot be decomposed|
|Noxious and invasive weeds which regrow from cuttings, seeds or roots||May root and sprout either in the pile or, in the location where the compost is spread|
|Personal hygiene products (such as tissues, tampons)||Unhygienic and health hazard|
|Pet waste from non-vegetarian animals||Contain many pathogens which are a health hazard and can cause diseases|
|Plants treated with toxic pesticides and herbicides||Will contaminate compost, soil and food with toxic chemicals|
|Plastics||Cannot be decomposed|
|Sales receipts and thermal paper||Contain a mix of toxic chemicals which shouldn’t be composted|
|Sticky labels (such as the ones on produce and packaging)||Are made of plastic and contain toxic chemicals in the glue|
|Treated wood pieces or sawdust||Contain highly toxic copper, chromium and arsenic which will contaminate soil|
|Vacuum cleaner dust and dryer lint||Contain too many synthetic fibres which don’t break down|
3. Step 3 – Setup your organic compost
A – Set location
You can choose anywhere, but the ideal compost location is a dry and shady spot.
If that place is poor drainage, the compost may get too soggy. It will not reach to temperature to decompose effectively.
You also do not want to leave it in a sunny environment because it will dry up too quickly, and you must keep adding water.
B – Pick your composting tools
You need the help of some gardening tools at this step.
Those may be compost bins, compost thermometers, etc.
Anyway, just pick some and prepare for the pile you set at the chosen location.
C – Your first day composting
You start your pile by adding alternate thin layers of greens and browns.
You should chop your materials with a machete or shovel, run them through a shredding machine, or run over them with your lawn mower.
Because the shredded materials compost very rapidly.
With each layer, you should get them wet a little bit. It will help your pile decompose faster.
Your compost piles should be between 3 feet to 5 feet. The trimmer will have trouble heating up, and the bigger may not allow enough air to reach the center.
After providing moisture, you will end your pile with a layer of browns.
At this moment, your organic compost is ready to decompose.
Finally, you should leave the pile alone for at least 4 days.
4. Step 4 – Maintain the pile
A – Turn the pile
After 4 days or so, you can turn your compost pile.
You must turn the outside to the inside and the inside to the outside.
It means you move them outside the pile to a spot next to it and keep moving material from the outside to the new bank.
B – Add moisture
When you finish, you should ensure that moisture stays constant.
You can test by squeezing a handful of the compost materials.
The ideal, it should only release one drop of water or almost drips a drop.
C – Leave it
You want to let the compost pile sit the next day, no turning and no moving.
It will take you 2 days more.
At this stage, your composting process may have taken at least six days.
D – Check temperature
You should measure the temperature at the core of the compost heap on the seventh.
If nothing goes wrong, the pile will reach its maximum temperature on these days.
Let me remind you that the hot composting process needs to reach an optimum temperature of 55-65 °C (131-149 °F).
So, using a compost thermometer or a cake thermometer is the best idea.
When you’re done checking the temperature, you will turn your compost pile again.
Finally, you should allow the compost to rest for the next day after turning it.
E – Rinse and repeat
You will do all this process on days 9 and repeat it on days 11, 13, 15, etc.
To clearly, you will continue to turn the compost every 2nd day (9,11,13,15,…)
And let your compost rest for a day after turning it (10,12,14,16…).
If you want that your organic compost decomposes faster, you can add some vermicompost to the pile.
Earthworms present in vermicompost will accelerate the process of becoming finished compost.
You can do this process once every 2 days for 3 weeks without vermicompost.
If you don’t have time, you can turn it every 3 to 7 days, and the pile will take 4 weeks to 3 months to decompose into compost.
5. Step 5 – Harvest your completed compost
When your pile looks like dark brown loam soil, warm, and smells good, and you can’t pick out any of the original ingredients.
It’s time to harvest your result.
You can test it by “bag test” to know more precisely.
First, you take a handful of your organic compost and put it in a sealed plastic bag.
After 3 days, open the bag and smell.
If it smells sour, the compost is not finished curing and still has microorganisms at work.
If it smells pleasant and earthy, it’s ready to use.
Congratulate yourself because you are now done with your work.
IV/ Step #4: Use Your Organic Compost
Once you have finished your organic compost, you can add it to the soil at any time without the fear of burning plants.
It will help improve the structure and overall health of your soil.
In fact, the best organic compost used to grow hemp produces the best CBD gummies.
1. Your soil amendments
A soil amendment is any material added to a soil to improve its physical properties.
Organic compost is a fantastic soil amendment, especially when your soil lacks nutrients.
It will improve soil structure, promoting airflow while retaining moisture in your garden soil.
When you start a new garden or prepare vegetable garden soil, mix it with the compost you’re preparing.
Your plants will grow better, thanks to the nutrients in your organic compost.
How about the ratio?
Just try and refine till you have the perfect soil mix recipes.
A mulch is a layer of material applied to the soil’s surface.
Mulch has many benefits to the soil.
It retains moisture, protects from erosion and compaction, deters weeds from growing, keeps temperatures steady, and adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.
Using organic compost as mulch is very easy.
First, you spread a layer over the surface of your soil. The thickness is up to you.
Finally, don’t forget to use garden tools to distribute it evenly.
3. Compost tea
Compost tea is a liquid fertilizer.
It has extracted and concentrated the beneficial microorganisms found in your organic compost.
To apply compost tea, you need a compost tea brewing bag.
First, you put an amount of your organic compost into the tea bag and tie it tightly.
Then, you submerge it in the bucket of water and leave it (24 – 36 hours).
Finally, dilute your liquid and spray it onto your soil.
You also spray your plants every two weeks when the peak of the growing season starts.
4. Start your seeds
Organic compost can be an excellent environment for the seeds you’re sowing.
You must first put your compost through a fine sieve to use them.
Then, you mix it with equal amounts of fine sand and soil.
Finally, use coarser compost in the bottom of the pot for good drainage.
This soil mix recipe will provide enough nutrients for your plants.
When your plants are taller, you can transplant them outdoors so that it continues to grow.
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5. Store your organic compost
Storing your organic compost is a great idea when you’re not using it up.
You can store compost indefinitely, but the longer it’s held, the more nutrients it loses.
So, your primary goal should be to prevent excess moisture and keep the material adequately aerated.
And for reusing your compost later, you need to store it properly.
It means you need to cover it while still allowing airflow to enable oxygen to allow the composting process to continue.
They are some ways to do that:
- To cover your compost pile, you can use a tarp or create a roof lid.
- You can also store your organic compost in plastic bags or a compost bin.
Both ways are good. It depends on the time you want to store it.
That’s all for this step.
In the next step, we will choose the best garden tools for composting.
V/ Step #5: Buying Compost Starter & Gardening Tools
Good products will help you make the composting process easy.
On the other hand, if the products are not good quality, they will cost you more effort and money.
So, let’s research it carefully.
1. Compost starter
A – What is a compost starter?
A compost starter is an additive designed to activate your compost pile.
When you need your composting process finishes faster, you should mix compost starter with other organic matter in your pile or your compost tumble.
B – Type of compost starter
There are different types of compost starters. You will see many popular types.
Some products are fertilizers with essentially a nitrogen source.
Others are microbe compost inoculants.
And some are a mixture of both.
Certain powdered products or “meals” can also be incorporated. There is bone meal, blood meal, alfalfa meal, or soybean meal.
C – When should you use compost starter?
Compost is the result of natural decomposition. It means that given enough time, anything organic will eventually rot.
When you’re struggling to create a balanced mixture of organic matter, air, and water, you will need a helpful activator.
Compost starter works like a soil conditioner that will accelerate the process of your home composting materials, including manure, grass, leaves, and food waste.
Suppose you’ve ever opened your compost bin, and the compost did not finish. In that case, you need a compost starter to assure composting success.
D – Best compost starter
Jobe’s Organics Compost Starter
Espoma Organic Traditions Compost Starter
Michigan Peat Garden Magic Compost and Manure
Espoma Organic Land and Sea Gourmet Compost
Wakefield Compost Hero Biochar Blend
Fishnure Odorless Organic Humus Compost Fish Manure Fertilizer
Blue Ribbon Organics – Natural Premium Organic Compost for Plants
R&M Organics Premium Organic Compost
2. Worm castings
A – What is worm castings?
In some circles, worm castings, also called vermicast or vermicompost, are an organic form of fertilizer produced from earthworms.
It is essentially earthworm waste, otherwise known as worm poo.
Castings from composting worms have been recognized as a natural fertilizer packed with many nutrients and minerals.
When worms eat through compost, they digest the organic materials they consume and refine them. Their waste creates optimal soil enrichment.
Worms introduce uncountable numbers of beneficial microbes and minerals such as concentrated nitrates, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and calcium into the finished product.
It also contains humic acid and has a neutral pH of 7.0, which will help plants absorb nutrients easily.
B – When should you use worm castings?
Adding worm casting can help you solve some of your problems while growing plants.
- Make the mix for germination
Research conducted over several years at The Ohio State University Soil Ecology Laboratory found that worm castings enhanced germination and seedling growth.
You can create excellent germination mixture recipes using sand with 20 to 30% worm castings.
It will provide enough nutrients for plants to grow for at least 3 months.
- Prevent plant diseases
In 2011, researchers at Cornell University Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology demonstrated that worm castings suppressed damping-off disease in seedlings.
You can sprinkle worm castings around the base of your plants on a large scale with a spreader or lightly dig it in, and then add water.
It will curb certain plant diseases, including root and crown rots and wilt disease, and inhibit some insect pests, including mites, aphids, and mealy bugs.
- Compost activator
If your compost has been inactive for a long time, worm casting will help.
Worm casting will often speed up that process if your compost pile breaks down too slowly.
Just sprinkle it, turn your pile, and add some water.
It will make your compost a lot easier.
- Soil conditioner
Worm casting will be an effective soil amendment if your soil textures are unsuitable for growing plants.
Are you new to gardening?
Mix it with the soil you dug up earlier, then add it to your garden.
If you don’t want to disturb the garden soil you prepared earlier, you can simply use worm casting as mulch, and it will do its job.
C – Best worm castings
Best Vermicompost (Worm Castings)
Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer
BRUT WORM FARMS Worm Castings Soil Builder
VermisTerra – Standard Earthworm Castings
Dr. Verm’s Premium Worm Castings
Worm Bliss Premium Vegan & Organic Earthworm Castings
3. Compost bin
A – What is a compost bin?
A compost bin, called a ‘compost digester,’ is a container you place organic waste to add to your compost pile later.
The key to successful composting is investing in the correct compost bin to fit your needs.
B – Best compost bin
You need a compost bin when you want to create your own organic compost to add to your garden’s soil.
Best Compost Bin
iTouchless Stainless Steel Compost Bin
NEW OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin
EPICA Stainless Steel Compost Bin
Utopia Kitchen Compost Bin
Joseph Joseph Intelligent Waste Compost Bin
KaryHome Hanging Small Kitchen Compost Bin
Granrosi Compost Bin Kitchen
4. Compost tumbler
A – What is a compost tumbler?
A compost tumbler is an enclosed container.
It is usually made of plastic and can be rotated to mix the composting materials.
A compost tumbler is excellent for maintaining relatively high temperatures because the container acts as insulation and because the turning keeps the microbes aerated and active.
This dramatically speeds up converting kitchen and yard waste into compost.
B – When should you use a compost tumbler?
If you want to stay away from rodents, raccoons, dogs, or other critters, A compost tumbler is the best product for that problem.
A compost tumbler also keeps your compost neatly enclosed and odor-free.
The more important thing here is that it speeds up your composting process and helps you get your finished compost faster to use in your garden.
C – Best compost tumbler
Best Compost Tumbler
IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter
VIVOSUN Outdoor Tumbling Composter
Dual Chamber Compost Tumbler
Garden Compost Bin from BPA Free Material
SQUEEZE master Outdoor Compost Tumbler
4. Compost thermometer
In the previous steps, you already know that the secret to perfect compost is getting it to the right temperature.
The higher the heat, the faster your materials will break down. But you don’t want your compost pile too hot because it will kill microorganisms.
A thermometer will tell you when your organic compost is “cooked.”
A – What is a compost thermometer?
A compost thermometer is a great help when creating your hot compost piles.
It will allow you to see the temperature of your compost pile at any time.
And all you need to do is maintain the correct temperature in your pile.
B – Best compost thermometer
Best Compost Thermometer
REOTEMP Backyard Compost Thermometer
Compost Thermometer – Cate’s Garden
Compost Soil Thermometer by Greenco
Rukars Compost Thermometer
VI/ Step #6: Solving Your Compost Problems
You already know that no one can practice and be successful the first time.
So do you and me.
You may experience some problems with your organic compost.
And it can make you frustrated and disgusted with your life for failures you don’t want to see.
But don’t worry.
Let’s solve that with some great ideas.
1. Problems with moisture
A – Too wet
If your compost pile is dense or water-logged, it will not contain enough oxygen for the microorganisms to survive.
Aerobic bacteria, the tiny microorganisms that make your pile decompose, will not live in such an oxygen-poor environment.
The reason is usually to blame poor aeration, or adding too much fresh material, instead of a balanced mix of new and dry materials.
There are some tips for you:
- You can dig it out completely, then use gardening tools to turn the ingredients over regularly to incorporate more air.
- You can also use a rotating compost tumbler to keep things aerated with little effort.
- You can mix in more carbon-rich ‘browns’ such as shredded prunings, sawdust, straw, and cardboard torn into smaller pieces. It will create channels within the compost to allow air to percolate and excess moisture to drain.
- If relentlessly wet weather is part of the problem, you should place a loose-fitting lid, create a roof cover, or tarp over your pile.
B – Too dry
If your compost pile is too dry, it will stop decomposing.
When initially building the pile, you should wet each layer with water.
Because your organic compost will not get enough moisture to support the bacterial life by the time.
If your pile is too dry, turning and watering your dormant bank will bring it to life quickly.
You also quickly check it.
First, put on your gardening gloves and grab some compost on hand.
Then, you squeeze it slightly.
You’re good to go when your compost has the damp feel of a wrung-out sponge.
If it does not, you should add more water.
2. Problems with temperature
A – Low pile temperature
In this issue, your compost pile won’t heat up.
Maybe the reason is your pile is too small. You need to increase its size by adding green and brown materials.
The materials may be too dry. It leads to insufficient moisture in a pile to decompose. You should add water to the bank.
If the reason is poor aeration. Depending on the pile’s size, you need to turn the bank or add aeration piping.
Another possibility is that the pile may be low in nitrogen. In this case, you should replenish the nitrogen content of your bank with green materials.
If it happens to be the middle of winter, cold weather may be the problem.
Then you need to insulate and cover the pile with gardening tools. It will protect the microbes from cold weather and keep them active.
B – High pile temperature
Excessive nitrogen can cause your compost to heat up very quickly.
The pile is too significant, and insufficient ventilation can cause that too.
In this case, you need to add brown materials to cool it down.
Then, you should reduce your pile size, add water, and turn the pile more frequently.
3. Problems with smell
This is the most recognizable and common problem in the composting process.
The question is, what kind of stink is it?
There is nothing complicated here.
You just need to recognize them and handle them according to the tips below.
Your problem will be solved.
A – My compost smells like ammonia
If your organic compost smells like that, it may contain too much nitrogen (greens).
You can remove some greens, allow them to lie out, then reincorporate them into the pile in a few days.
You can also add dry brown materials such as fallen leaves, wood chips, or straw to the pile.
Finally, don’t forget to turn your pile.
B – My compost smells like rotten eggs
A lack of aeration in a pile is the issue.
You need to add some fast-decomposing materials and carbon materials to your pile.
Then you should turn in your materials frequently.
C – My compost smells like rotten food
This problem is caused by exposed or inappropriate food scraps.
You need to remove meat, dairy, or other inappropriate material.
Finally, cover food scraps with a thick layer of brown.
It will prevent odors and continue to be decomposed by microorganisms.
4. Problems with insect pests
This may be because you added contaminated materials.
To solve this problem, ensure that the material is chopped small before adding it to the pile. If you want to add wood materials, make sure it is not contaminated with termites, carpenter ants, or other insects.
Besides that, you also make sure food scraps are covered in a layer of browns. It will prevent the compost pile from attracting harmful insects.
To get these bugs out of your compost, you should raise the heap’s temperature to above 120°F by adding green material with a layer of brown each time something is added.
If your finished compost is infested with insect pests, spread the compost in a thin layer on a tarp in direct sunlight and leave it there to dry. These pests will go quickly.
Finally, add more water to the pile while turning.
5. Problems with animal pests
The compost bin or pile isn’t adequately covered, food scraps are exposed, or you add the wrong food scraps to the bank can lead to this issue.
You can easily cover the compost pile by using a tarp or hardware cloth.
You can also add more layers of brown materials to cover food scraps to solve this problem.
Keeping it in a compost bin or compost tumbler is a great way to prevent animal pests.
With burrowing animals, you need to make sure your barrier or steel grid reaches 6 to 8 inches into the ground.
Finally, remove meat, dairy, and fatty foods from your pile for the best results if you are still having trouble.
You are now completing step #6.
This chapter will solve the most common problems that you struggled with.
To end this guide, let’s go to the final step.
VII/ Step #7: Handle Some Excellent Organic Composting Tips
This chapter is the last part.
In this step, you will have handy tips while making compost.
They will save you more effort and money.
1. If possible, place your composter or compost pile near a water source.
Mainly the rainwater is contained in the barrel.
It’s a free resource and will make it more convenient for you when you need to add water to the pile.
2. Empty your compost pail frequently and rinse it out.
Because bits of decomposing vegetable scraps and other organic matter can cling to the insides and cause it to smell.
Even compost receptacles with tight-fitting lids can attract insect pests if they’re left for too long.
When your compost pile is dry, dump the rinse water on it.
This will solve two problems at once.
3. Use a pail to collect your compostable household waste, and then dump it into the compost pile.
Don’t confuse your compost bins with your compost pile.
Compost bins are not designed to make it easy for gardeners to turn (mix) the composting materials.
A compost bin is not a composter, and if you try to use it as one, you’ll have a stinky mess on your hands (and your kitchen counter).
If you want all in one, compost tumblers are a great choice.
4. Add layers of activator to your compost pile.
After adding layers of green or brown materials, you should sprinkle some activator onto the pile and moisten it with water.
Activators contain both protein and nitrogen, and they’ll aid the bacteria and microorganisms with breaking organic matter into compost faster.
The activators could be alfalfa meal, blood meal, cottonseed meal, bone meal, and manure.
5. You should diversify the materials that are added to your compost.
When you put a lot of the same thing in your compost, it will be uniform in nutrients and microbes.
The diverse materials will make the finished compost more nutritious.
It will provide enough for your plants for a long time.
If you are a beginner, you should stick with plant waste until you’ve mastered the composting process.
6. Add a lot of material all at once rather than small amounts daily.
You can use a compost bin with a lid in the kitchen to collect nitrogen materials before adding them to the pile.
If fruit flies are a problem indoors, your compost container is probably not airtight.
Make sure it has a tight-fitting lid that gets sealed shut after being opened.
After collecting enough materials, you should create an entire pile at once.
7. Plants are growing in your compost.
If the plants are genuinely weed, you just pull them up and toss them back into the unfinished compost.
If the plants are a helpful breed you want to keep, you should transplant them to your garden.
8. Check the pH again before using your organic compost.
Microorganisms are the crux of the decomposition process.
Composting bacteria work best under neutral to acidic conditions, with pH ranging from 5.5 to 8.
You can add ashes and lime to your compost bin to increase alkalinity or pine needles and oak leaves to increase acidic.
9. Apply finished compost to your garden about 2-4 weeks before you plant.
Finished compost can build soil any time of year without fear of burning plants or polluting water.
In the garden, there is no such thing as too much compost.
However, you need to give the compost time to integrate and stabilize within the soil.
Then your plants will use it better.
10. Let the worms do the hard work.
Another way to speed up the decomposing of your compost is to use worm castings.
Redworms do best if the pH is around 7.0 but can tolerate levels from 4.2 to 8.0 or higher.
They can live their whole lives in the dark and love the moist atmosphere of a vermicompost or compost heap, eating the waste material you put in and converting it into liquid feed and compost.
It will do its job, then you just wait and relax.
11. Keep a compost log.
You may or may not be successful at first making your compost.
Many things are going on in your garden and home that you can not control.
An excellent way is to jot down notes about what does and doesn’t work on your compost journey.
It will make your life easy and entertaining, and you can avoid repeating mistakes.
You are now completing the seven steps organic composting guides.
At this moment, you can make your own compost and handle the problems while you do it.
These are the 7 easy steps to help you make your own organic compost.
This guide tells you what organic compost is and the difference between hot and cold composting.
You already know how to create your first compost pile, after all.
Now, it’s your turn.
Are you planning to make hot or cold compost?
Or have you found a way to solve your composting problems?
Anyway, let me know by leaving a comment below.
See you soon.
Jobe's Organics Compost Starter
Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer
iTouchless Stainless Steel Compost Bin
IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter
REOTEMP Backyard Compost Thermometer