So what is composting?
Composting is a vital ingredient to the principles of biodynamic gardening. We allow the magnificent ecosystem found in nature to teach us how to reduce, recycle and reuse. When we compost, we are closing a wasteful leak in the loop. One of the most harmful greenhouse gases produced, methane gas, is produced by the huge amount of food waste in landfills. There is no good sense in this when food waste can so easily return to the soil by composting. All it takes is a nice compost bucket next to your kitchen sink, filled with a bio bag that can be dumped into your compost bin or pile every few days.
Composting can be done anywhere with either compost bins or building a compost pile. If you live in a condo or apartment building, be a pioneer and get the association to provide a huge compost bin. All that good compost come spring can be fed to all the shrubs and trees, or to start a community garden. I guarantee if you are the first condo to start composting, others will follow. If you have a small yard, buy a compost bin. If you have a large piece of land, build a serious compost pile.
Natural composting occurs in the woods and on the forest floors, but that is referred to as mulching. We call the decomposing of organic matter composting when we participate in the process. When we create a pile of organic matter and desire it to breakdown into rich topsoil, a little care is involved to maintain a proper nitrogen to carbon ratio. The composting process requires a good balance of air, water and decomposing material.
Compost Ingredients And Nutrients
Compost ingredients can include hay, straw, grass clippings, branches, horse and chicken manure, food waste, wood chips, garden waste and leaves. If you buy a rotating compost bin, you can start with nitrogen rich grass clippings and food waste. You will need to add leaves, branches, wood chips or straw to balance the ratio with more carbon. If you layer your compost, it helps to build the layers with this ratio in mind. You would want to mix up your layers with straw, grass clipping, leaves, food waste and nutrients like manure, blood meal, etc. Food waste for composting does NOT include meats, dairy or oils. It is a vegetarian compost. Most compost piles end up lacking in nitrogen, and the nitrogen is what helps heat up your compost. Nitrogen sources you can add to your compost include blood meal, alfalfa meal and manure. You want to sprinkle these additions in lightly and gradually in layers for continuous heat build up. You can also add micro-organisms to the compost to speed things along. These can be purchased at your garden nursery.
Most all compost bins come with ventilation to provide the needed oxygen to rotting materials. If you build a compost pile, it is important to build it on a box spring of branches which will provide the needed oxygen from below the pile. A rotating compost bin makes it easy to spin and increase oxygen within the compost. The top layers of layered composts need to be turned over periodically with a pitch fork to increase oxygen.
Compost piles need water to start the decomposing process. If you have a rotating compost bin, you can sprinkle it with the hose periodically. If you have a layered composter, water each layer you add to your pile. If you build a compost pile, you will want to thoroughly water each successive layer in the building process.
Composting mimics nature’s infamous talent to reduce, recycle and reuse. Your efforts will not be wasted for your compost pile/bin will produce black, rich, healthy soil to spread on your garden for growing healthier food.