If you’re new to composting, you might be interested in techniques other than the conventional bin or open heap. Or perhaps you’ve been composting the same way for years and want to switch it up. In this article, you will earn about the six most popular methods of composting to select the best one for you and your garden regardless of your circumstance.
The best part of the composting process is that each technique transforms waste that would have otherwise been stacked up in landfill mountains into a soil conditioner for thriving, wholesome plants.
Sustainable waste management is essential to keep both your home and the environment healthy. And although household waste, such as the packaging of meat items, should be disposed of in superior black garbage bags; eggshells, vegetable and fruit peels, and other biodegradable materials, however, can be used in your garden or composted.
1. Hot Composting
The term “hot composting” describes a process that accelerates the production of finished compost by maximizing microbial activity within the compost pile. In addition to time and effort, it calls for some specialized equipment.
However, hot composting can be worthwhile to attempt if you are determined to have compost ready in time to start a new garden bed or for topdressing.
When it comes to hot composting, the size of your compost bin or pile is crucial. If the pile is too small, it won’t heat up enough. At least four feet wide by four feet high is a decent size for a pile or bin for hot composting.
In general, larger is preferable, but for most gardeners, four feet by four feet is a reasonable size. If at all feasible, the pile should be set up in full sunlight; shadow will somewhat cool the pile and slow the process. You can just pile the materials together or use a wire fence bin. Of course, you could make a lovely, big heated compost bin out of wood or shipping pallets if you’re handy with tools.
When constructing the hot compost pile, it is best to have all of your supplies on hand. The goal of hot composting is to get the pile to heat up rather than adding organic materials to the pile as it is accumulated. For this, we require a significant amount of organic matter that has the proper carbon to nitrogen ratio from the very beginning.
The ratio of carbon to nitrogen is crucial for kicking off microbial activity and heating up the pile. Your pile should ideally be composed of 25 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen.
Whatever you use, it must be finely chopped to ensure that it decomposes as rapidly as possible. The simplest method for doing this is repeatedly running a lawnmower over the ingredients. Mix the ingredients thoroughly, then add water to evenly moisten the mixture before allowing it to sit. Layering is not necessary and frequently lengthens the procedure.
You will have gorgeous, dark brown, crumbly compost to add to your gardens or lawn after about three weeks of following this practice, depending on the air temperature and other environmental factors, such as precipitation.
2. Cold Composting (Passive Composting)
A great option for your home may be cold composting if you have a big family and a big yard. For the aerobic decomposition process to be facilitated by cold composting, a designated area must be used to set up your pile, and moisture and oxygen levels must be constantly monitored. However, it is a quick and inexpensive option for beginners to start composting.
Cold composting is usually done outdoors in an open pile on the ground or inside a walled container with a large biodegradable waste bag. The procedure involves stacking carbon-rich brown matter (wood chips and dried leaves) with nitrogen-rich green matter (lawn clippings and food wastes) at a ratio of roughly 3:1.
Every week, before adding more green matter, you must turn the mound. Additionally, you might need to water the compost pile before rotating it in dry locations or during the summer. This makes sure there is enough air available to feed the bacteria that are decomposing the material.
3. Tumbler Composting
A great substitute for free-form cold composting piles is tumbler composting. A barrel or other container that can spin vertically is used in the procedure and is affixed to a frame. The container is often equipped with a handle so you can stir the compost once a week and a hatch or drawer so you can retrieve the finished compost quickly.
Layering green and brown waste within works similarly to traditional cold composting. In contrast, tumbler composting seals the container, generating heat to hasten decomposition.
For residences with little outdoor area for compost bins, tumbler composting is a great option. Additionally, it stops animals from digging in the compost and also prevents rodent infestations. They are appropriate for residential communities because of the closed design’s ability to reduce odors.
4. Worm Composting
Worm composting is a productive way to create nutrient-rich compost and concentrated liquid fertilizer from tiny amounts of kitchen and garden trash. It does not, however, serve as a replacement for traditional composting.
Worm composting, sometimes referred to as vermicomposting or vermiculture, creates organic, odorless compost and requires only 30 minutes of weekly upkeep. The biggest time commitment is harvesting your worm castings, which is done every three to six months.
The most basic form of a worm composter is a container with openings for moisture and ventilation. In order to allow water to flow out the bottom, it is typically composed of plastic and elevated off the ground.
This is done with a plastic storage container or tote with a top for indoor worm bins. Simply drill a series of holes, except the lid, a few inches apart in the sides and bottom. Even though there shouldn’t be much liquid flowing out the bottom and worms don’t require light, the holes are still present in case the moisture needs to drain. Better airflow is achieved by the side wall openings.
5. Bokashi Composting
The term “bokashi” refers to the fermentation-based breakdown of organic waste. A Japanese professor created the Bokashi composting technique in the 1980s.
Food waste, including bones, meat, and dairy products, is added to a layer of infected bran or wheat germ in an airtight bokashi bucket. The microorganisms that ferment waste are fed by the bran or germ. Anaerobic means that no oxygen is required for breakdown to occur while using this method.
During the procedure, liquid is created, and it is drained through the spigot that is located towards the bucket’s bottom.
Although you can start the composting process indoors, you will need access to the outdoors to finish it.
Either bury or burn the final product after it has been broken down (preferably either in a garden trench away from young plant roots or in a traditional compost pile.) This further decomposes the fermented combination, converting it into compost that can be used.
6. Direct Burying
Direct composting is dumping your composting products right into the flower bed or garden area, and burry it, as the name suggests. You allow your brown and green waste to decompose in the real bed rather than in a separate pile. You won’t need to move your compost from the bin to the garden, which saves time.
However, you need to be mindful of digging pests that can disrupt your garden trying to dig it out.
The amount of area you have and the amount of organic waste you need to compost will determine which composting method is ideal for you. Your ability to invest the necessary time will also influence which one you should choose. Composting has several advantages, including preventing the disposal of food wastes in the trash and providing your yard with rich organic matter.
Recycling organic waste is a sustainable, ethical approach to managing your household garbage, regardless of the kind of composting technique you choose in the end.