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How To Arrange The Compost Pile More Conveniently And Speed Up The Preparation Of Organic Fertilizer
How To Arrange The Compost Pile More Conveniently And Speed Up The Preparation Of Organic Fertilizer
Video: How To Arrange The Compost Pile More Conveniently And Speed Up The Preparation Of Organic Fertilizer
Video: Eliot Coleman's How To Make Compost and Add Organic Amendments 2023, February
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Compost problems

Probably, none of the gardeners doubts the benefits of compost - almost everyone prepares it in one way or another, only in different ways. Most gardeners simply send all the weeds in a heap (or in a hole), pouring slops there too. Alas, this object on the site looks completely unattractive, not to mention what aromas spread from it, especially in the hot season. And in this case, quite a lot is involved. In addition, in such conditions, compost takes a long time to prepare - at least until the next season it will definitely not be approached.

In general, you have four problems:

  • it is better to somehow disguise the compost heap / pit so as not to frighten others, and it will be more pleasant for you yourself;
  • you need to do something so that there is no smell and flies;
  • it would be nice not to waste the space that the compost heap or pit takes;
  • if possible, it is desirable to accelerate the maturation of the compost.
Zucchini
Zucchini

Compost disguise

The best option is to enclose the compost containers with a wall of planted plants. Unpretentious and fast-growing tall or curly decorative perennials, for example, hops, maiden grapes, are ideal for this purpose. The trellis you place them on will be pretty good at masking the compost heap.

How to get rid of flies and odors?

With regard to flies, the only and reliable way out is to immediately sprinkle all kitchen waste with some kind of organic matter and periodically lime, then you will not see any flies.

As for aromas, in general, compost should not give off a strong smell if all processes in it develop properly. An odor problem usually occurs when the material in the compost heap becomes too moist and compacted. Shaking the compost with a pitchfork will help reduce excess moisture and density. It will also not hurt to add a little lime to the compost (to remove the odor) and add dry leaves (the leaves will absorb excess moisture). In addition, it is useful to know that ammonia odor appears only in compost where the carbon-nitrogen ratio is disturbed. In this case, it is necessary to add carbon-rich components to the compost: sawdust, paper, straw, and crushed coal. It is clear that it is wiser to add such components in parallel with other components in order to completely avoid the appearance of odors.

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How not to lose useful space?

If the compost is prepared in a heap or in some containers (fenced containers, old barrels, etc.) that are not in full shade, then it is quite possible to plant some greens or vegetables on such compost. What exactly to plant will depend on the amount of light and how soon you need the contents of the compost heap.

With good lighting and provided that you are not going to disturb the compost in the summer, you can plant zucchini or pumpkins on it, which will grow very well in a warm and fertile compost bed. In less light, it makes sense to sow fairly early maturing green crops, such as dill, lettuce, leafy turnips or garden cress. Greens, of course, are also photophilous, but they can yield a crop even with some lack of light. If the illumination is sorely lacking, then planting something, of course, is completely pointless.

It should be noted that in the case of using compost containers as warm mini-beds, the compost is prepared much faster. On the one hand, because such a bed remains open from above, and as a result, anaerobic processes run better in it. On the other hand, by planting vegetables or herbs in containers, you willy-nilly will have to water the plants regularly, which will also benefit the compost being prepared.

But then another problem arises. If you planted a compost heap with plants, then you will not be able to throw fresh organic waste into it. Therefore, it is worth taking into account the traditional recommendations about the need to create on the site not one, but three (possibly more, if barrels act as such heaps) compost heaps. If this is your case, and you are acting in accordance with the standard recommendations - that is, one year you fill one heap, the second - another one, etc., then you can quite safely plant two older heaps with plants. With this approach, it is more profitable to plant heat-loving pumpkin crops on last year's warmer heap, in which composting processes are actively taking place, and on the one before last year, you can plant cabbage, beets or greens.

However, there is another way, perhaps even the best one - every year you can make not one big heap, but several small ones and plant different crops on them sequentially. Here are the benefits of this approach:

  • the planting area will not disappear (very impressive with the traditional three-year compost production);
  • there will be practically no smell and flies, since a little time will pass from the moment the heap is created until the plants are planted on it;
  • the compost will be prepared very quickly, and within a month and a half after planting, organic residues will turn into real humus;
  • there is practically no need to allocate an area for such compost heaps, since small containers with compost can be placed in any vacant place on the site.
Compost box
Compost box

As for the containers themselves, the easiest and cheapest way is to use old leaky barrels as such. You will need 3-4 such barrels, you can even more - it all depends on what crops you are going to plant on them, since the compost itself is prepared very quickly in the hot summer period. If you plant long-growing crops, for example, cabbage, then there should be more barrels, if fast-growing, for example, salad greens, then they need less. For example, I usually plant potatoes and cabbage in "spring" compost barrels, and sow green crops in "summer" ones.

Barrels should be without a bottom and with small holes for ventilation. For aesthetic reasons (and also in terms of durability), you can paint them with paint (preferably dark, since the dark color of the container guarantees a constant elevated temperature inside, which reduces the composting time). However, black paint should not be used in order to avoid overheating of the root system of plants planted in barrels. Ventilation holes, first of all, at the bottom of the containers are mandatory, since they provide constant access to oxygen inside, which accelerates the decomposition of organic matter

This composting option is very convenient. Why? It's simple. The containers are filled with organic matter in turn, and, as a rule, when filling the third barrel in hot weather and sufficient humidity, there will already be semi-decomposed compost inside the first one, which can theoretically be used. There is an obvious acceleration of the compost preparation process - it will no longer take several months, and even more so three years (as in the classic version). In small containers and in hot weather, the compost can be completely ready even in 1.5-2 months, however, provided there is sufficient moisture. And within a month the compost reaches a state of semi-decomposition, when it can already be safely used, for example, for mulching plantings or for introducing trees and shrubs into the root zone.

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How to accelerate the maturation of compost?

In the previous section, we briefly touched on the problem of accelerating the maturation of compost. However, in addition to planting plants on the compost and dyeing the compost containers dark, there are several other techniques that can be used to speed up the maturation of the compost. For example, it makes sense to incorporate ordinary earthworms into the compost, and the composting process will significantly speed up. By the way, plants planted on compost will also feel more comfortable after that.

In addition, a number of rules should be followed when filling the compost heap with organic waste:

  • to introduce all materials in a crushed form (the surface available for the action of soil microorganisms increases);
  • mix organic materials well with each other (a more uniform distribution of carbon-nitrogen components is ensured);
  • use only rapidly decomposing materials in mini-compost heaps (weed grass with soil fragments, sawdust, kitchen waste), and materials such as needles, shavings and branches, which take a longer time to decompose, should be introduced when forming high ridges.

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