Compost is a type of organic fertilizer for the soil that is useful in supporting plant life. Besides growing healthy plants and flowers, this procedure indirectly helps in maintaining a cleaner home and surroundings.
How it Works
This process occurs naturally where there is a source of organic matter, and favorable environmental conditions. It is a known fact that the topsoil of a thick forest is fertile and rich in humus soil. The soil fertility in the area is contributed to by the leaves and plant parts that fall from large trees.
Microbes (bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes) play a major role in transforming organic materials to the nutrient form. For this process to take place efficiently, there are certain requirements to be fulfilled, apart from the availability of organic matter. The objective is to create favorable conditions for the microbes to remain in an active state.
Maintaining optimal temperature (155° F), moisture content (45 percent), and air circulation is essential. Hence, you should not saturate the decomposing materials with water. Another important factor is the carbon to nitrogen ratio, which should fall within a specific range (30:1 in dry weight).
You should feed only biodegradable, organic wastes into the bin, making sure that the particle size is 2-3 inches. Also, maintain the above mentioned range for temperature, moisture content, and carbon to nitrogen ratio. While very low temperatures negatively affect the microbial activity, high temperatures kill them.
Likewise, air circulation is crucial to increase microbial action. For proper aeration, you can consider using a rotating bin instead of a regular one.
The resulting compost resembles the crumbly, dark brown humus soil which you use in lawns, vegetable gardens, and other gardening projects. By undertaking composting, you can have a continuous supply of natural fertilizer for organic gardening. It is a step forward to sustainable agriculture and chemical-free, home-grown vegetables.