Why do you need a compost bin? There are so many answers to this, but the most important reasons include transforming waste into something useful that could help you grow healthy plants. So you should start your own compost at home.
How to make a compost bin? Read and learn…
What is a compost?
It is basically a matter made of decayed organic elements that you can use as plant fertilizer.
It is made of the stuff that we just throw away at home.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 28% of household waste comprise food scraps and yard waste.
Instead of throwing these away and allowing them to continue crowding landfills, they should be used as compost components instead.
Here’s the deal
When you throw them in the landfill, not only will they take up space, they will also release methane, which is a greenhouse gas.
Add that to the list of important reasons for having your own compost at home.
What do you compost?
There are three basic ingredients of a compost:
- Browns – these are organic materials that are usually brown in color like yard debris such as dead leaves, branches and twigs.
- Greens – as the name suggests, these are mostly green in color like grass clippings and vegetable waste. But this category also includes non-greens like fruit scraps and coffee grounds.
In theory, leftover food should be compostable. However, if you are new to this, it’s better if you just don’t include cooked food in your compost bin.
Here are reasons why you should not put cooked food in your compost bin:
- They will stink.
- They will attract pests.
- Decomposing meat will produce anaerobic bacteria, which will not be good for the composting process.
- It will require expert and regular maintenance.
If you have been composting for a long time and know how to deal with cooked food, then that is up to you. The less waste you throw away, the better for the environment.
As earlier mentioned, there are a number of benefits to composting. Here are some of them:
Enriches the soil
The soil will become a great home for your plant when it is mixed with compost. This is because the compost will help retain moisture in the soil, which is very important.
Compost also prevents pests and plant diseases.
This will lead us to the next benefit:
Curtails the need for chemical fertilizers
A compost is basically a fertilizer, which is why it also prevents pests and diseases. It is always preferable if you could prevent the use of chemicals in your plants.
Here are some reasons why you should prevent the use of chemical fertilizers:
- Pollute the air
- Cause chemical leaf scorch or the yellowing or browning of leaves
- Pollute waterway
- Cause soil acidification
- Lessen vitamins and minerals of plants
Prompts the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi
Good bacteria and fungi will break down organic matter. The process will create humus.
What is humus?
It is a dark organic matter that contributes to the retention of moisture and nutrients in the soil. In other words, it is great for the growth of the plants.
Instead of having organic waste and throwing them in the trash bin, put them in the compost bin instead.
As a result of this:
You will have lower carbon footprint
Because you have reduced methane emission in the process.
How To Make a Compost Bin?
For homeowners with a large yard, they can make a compost pit. This is when you set aside a section of your yard to create a compost.
You have to dig a pit in your yard where you can store your organic materials. But that is for another day.
This is about creating a compost bin, which is more appropriate for those with smaller yards.
Now how do we start?
Find a location in your backyard
Remember that you will be essentially putting in waste inside the compost bin. That alone should tell you that it will not be appropriate in the front yard.
This is going to be tricky
First of all, you want the compost to be far from smelling proximity. While there are ways to control the odor of the compost bin, it’s never going to smell the best for your yard.
However, while you want it far from the main house, you also want it to be more accessible to you.
You don’t exactly want to walk a long way just to dispose of your vegetable and fruit scraps.
While you want it away from your house, make sure it is not close to the neighbor’s. That will be a different problem altogether.
You have to make sure that your compost will get enough sunlight. The heat will help make the composting process faster.
However, you also have to consider that water is an important component in a compost.
The place should not be too hot or the compost will dry out.
Perhaps you should find a spot with a shade that can be reached by sunlight. That would be a pretty good compromise.
I know what you’re thinking!
Put the bin under a tree.
No! No! No!
Remember that your bin is meant to have moisture and nutrients that every plant craves for. With a compost in such close proximity, the tree’s roots would be moving in that direction.
The roots will eventually mess up your compost bin especially if you chose a large tree as shade.
Here’s another important matter
Keep your compost bin near the garden. This way, you can easily access it when you want to fertilize your plants or when you want to start another garden bed.
Place the bin directly on the soil and make sure you have an even ground. This way, the leachate will just drain away.
Choose your bin
If you go to the gardening section of your grocery store, you will be confronted with so many choices.
Basically, a compost bin is one that has an open bottom. This way, your waste will be mixed directly with the soil.
Over the years
People’s preferences have led to the different kinds of bins like the compost tumblers, worm composters and indoor composters.
But let’s stick to the original compost bin, which is the stationary type.
To be practical about this, you have to consider the waste that you usually make on a certain period. You don’t want your waste to spill over your bin.
Once you’ve determined the volume of your waste, consider an allowance so that you will not outgrow your bin.
The cover should be able to keep the smell of the compost in.
Also, it is important that the cover is not going to be easy enough to be opened by cats, squirrels and other animals scrounging for food.
The cover is also important in preserving the moisture of the compost as well as preventing rain from making it too wet.
Now you are ready to make your actual compost!
Layering your compost
The soil is basically the base of your compost. This is important because you want worms and other live organisms to crawl their way into the compost.
The worm will eat the food scraps, which will then become an essential part of the compost.
Lay twigs or the harder organic debris onto the soil. This is important in terms of drainage.
Now that you have a heavier base, you can start piling up your browns and greens. Alternate between dry and moist components.
You know what will speed up the process?
If you have animal manure, add it as your nitrogen source.
There is also such a thing as green manure, which could be grass clippings or other uprooted field cover crops.
You can add water into the manure or if it’s the rainy season, you can let nature do it for you. Water will eventually seep into your compost base when it rains.
Turn the pile every few weeks. You can use a shovel or a pitchfork.
This process is called aeration. You want oxygen to be part of the composting process, which is why you turn the components so that air will be circulated.
Now you’re ready to add more
Instead of layering new components like what you did the first time, just add new compost materials as you are turning it.
This way, the new components will be integrated immediately.
Sounds simply, right?
It really is! It is cheap, too.
It’s really a wonder why people are not yet doing this at home!
Don’t waste your beautiful yard by keeping it stagnant. Start a garden and make your home more lively. And since you’re at it, keep things organic and natural by creating your own compost.
How to make a compost bin? It’s so easy and satisfying, too. You are not only doing things naturally, you are also saving your waste and turning them into something valuable to the plants.
Not only that, you are actually helping the environment when you don’t have any kind of waste that will end up in the landfill.
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