Composting: The Myths and Truths
There are a lot of myths surrounding compost and how to make it work for you. Some people don’t compost as they don’t know how to, but would use it if they had it. Most people suspect it’s too hard or requires too much space and time, and prefer to send their organic waste to landfill. These organic compounds will biodegrade quickly but can be used to nurture more organic plants, rather than sit in landfill.
Here are some of the most common myths about organic compost and how to make it work for you.
1: Composting Myth – You need special equipment.
Active composting does not require any special equipment. You can simply pile your organic matter up and have it turn into compost. Special composting bins are useful if you want to keep the organic matter contained or compost in a smaller space, but wire mesh or wood can be used to contain the matter so you do not need to have a specialist bin.
2: Composting Myth – Special ingredients are necessary.
The market is full of additives that claim to make your compost mulch faster or speed up the process, but the truth is organic matter will biodegrade naturally without any help at all. Introducing living organisms will make a richer fertilizer but are not necessary.
3: Composting Myth – Compost piles are BIG.
Composting your green waste is a great way to save it from landfill, but you don’t have to compost it all. Your compost pile can be as big as you want or need it to be. The more organic matter you can recycle the better, but if you have too much, try to find somewhere to make your waste into compost if you want a smaller pile. Thin card and paper can also be made into compost but will bulk it out. If you produce more compost that you need, you can share it with other green gardeners.
4: Composting Myth – You need worms.
Worms are a GREAT additive to any organic matter when you want it to be turned into fertilizer, as the process, they put it through enriches the soil and makes it perfect for the earth to reuse. Worms will be attracted to the compost pile as it’s the perfect environment for them, but they are not necessary. The red worms that are usually added to compost do nothing different from regular worms, so you can leave your compost to do it’s ‘own thing’ naturally.
5: Composting Myth – You need layers.
Layers of different materials are not necessary to make compost, but your composting will be more successful if you introduce different organic materials. As the matter breaks down and you mix it to keep it aerated, it will naturally combine, so layers are not necessary.
6: Composting Myth – Composting smells.
You’ve walked in the woods, right? What do you think is happening to those leaves beneath your feet? They are being composted and the fresh smell of the woods is something most people enjoy. People avoid composting because they think it will smell, but it is a natural process that only smells if you have something out of balance. Common problems like not enough drainage or the wrong types of food scraps will cause the pile to smell. If you fix the problem, you’ll fix the smell.
Composting is not hard and with a little understanding, you can make rich, organic fertilizer for as long as you have plants to grow.
Think about these things then you can get started:
- Work out how big your compost pile needs to be. A Small family usually needs no more than a 3×3 feet square container. A worm bin composter can be set up under your kitchen sink if you have an apartment or small space.
- Collect your scraps. Any organic matter will do, but a good mix is best. Dry, fibrous green matter or even paper and card can be used, as well as garden waste and grass clippings.
- Buy the right food to produce the right waste for compost. Reduce your packaging and opt for fresh fruit and veg that creates organic scraps and not too much of it.
- Compost piles should be moist, not soggy. Wet occasionally and turn to keep it aerated. If it smells adjust your water and aeration as this is usually the problem.
- It takes about a month for the compost to mature and be ready to use on the garden, if you produce too much, give it away to a friend so they can enjoy organic garden produce too.
Making your own fresh fertilizer is easy and one way that you can help the environment by not putting chemicals in the ground that do not belong there, but it also produces nutritious, natural food that tastes great and is easy on the wallet. It’s worth a try!