Compost in a Hurry A Faster Way to Organic Soil Enhancement
Need soil enhancement in a hurry but don't want chemicals?Here are several tips and suggestions,no matter what the temperatures are, to speed things along for an optimal finished compost material, used to enrich and enhance the soil for garden, yard, or planter.
It is a fact. The organisms that make compost happen are temperature dependent. When it is cold these tiny living organisms, many of which cannot be seen with our eyes, work slowly and when the temperature is freezing or below can stop entirely. Thus it is reality to assume warm season composting will take less time to create the finished humus than a pile started or added to in cool or cold temperatures.
Keep in mind these are tips for optimal and fastest compost making. Compost will happen even if one does not choose to put any of these suggestions into practice. Using all these tips can lead to finished usable compost in about 2 months.
Most important of these tips and perhaps the hardest to accomplish is to maintain a balance of the three parts of the carbon rich material, often called brown material and simply put the dried organics to one part nitrogen rich also called protein rich and green. Brown material is generally bulky and loose such as stalks and cut up limbs or straw. Create a six inch layer of brown materials. Cover this layer with two inches of green materials, manure from animals categorized as herbivores works here if you do not have enough kitchen scraps or a source to get scraps or fresh cuttings. And if you choose to purchase a dry powdered nitrogen source such as blood meal reduce the layer to one inch or less. To speed up breakdown even more brown materials can be run through a shredder to reduce particle size. If a shredder is not a practical expense then break the browns into as small pieces as you can by hand or saw. Sawdust or most types of paper, crumpled or cut into strips are brown materials.
Reduce particle size. Chop, cut, or break up materials. As mentioned previously a chipper/shredder reduces the amount the manual labor required and does a great job. Another method is to use the lawn mower. Mow over piles of dry leaves or greens to chop them smaller. Some models have a mulching feature. When using the pruning tool cut several times on the same woody plant limb or stem to create small pieces. Even a shovel can break up larger vegetables and smaller dry matter like sticks and stalks and straw. Chop up kitchen scraps as small as possible. Crumble eggshells well.
Check moisture levels frequently. Keep your mix moist but not wet enough to squeeze out water. Try to keep this level constant. Covering the contents helps. A tarp or lid or sunshade are examples. If you want to collect water make a depression in the contents. If you want to shed water make a round top to help water run away from contents.
Turn the contents of the pile, bin or tumbler. Each turning reduces rot down time by about half. Turning is mixing and aerating the contents using a garden fork, shovel or composting tool designed specifically for turning compost. The tumbler or barrel composter is made with various type handles which allows the entire system to turn and mixes the contents.
Aerate the contents. Air increases the activity of the organisms busy living in your organic waste,seen or unseen, which speeds up decomposition and the making of the naturally rich soil enhancement. Turn the tumbler or barrel by hand,mixing contents and increasing contact with air. Use the aeration tool in a garden composting bin. This tool has blades designed to make the turning and mixing easier. Shovels, rakes, pitchforks work well in open piles. If your pile is large enough inserting perforated drainage tubes creates the air flow needed.
No matter the temperature or amount of effort asserted to making compost the finished product will enhance your garden lawn or planter soil. Follow the hints given to make humus in a hurry.