Organic fertilizers are an excellent way to maintain the health of our garden, orchard or pots in an optimal state, while taking care of the environment. The most widespread of them all is compost, especially at the level of hobbyists of gardening and horticulture. The main advantages of compost are that it is easy to make and that it can be made by reusing organic household waste. But what does it take to make homemade compost and how is it made?
If you want to learn how to make homemade compost step by step and all the details to achieve it successfully, join us in this article where you will see a practical guide to making homemade compost .
What is compost – definition and benefits
Compost is a product obtained from the composting process , which consists of the controlled oxidation of different organic materials . These are some of the advantages of composting :
- It looks like a dark earth and does not produce strong odors.
- It is totally free of pathogenic elements.
- Compost is an excellent organic fertilizer, which enriches the soil with a multitude of plant nutrients without contaminating it with artificial chemicals.
- It is not dangerous for the environment.
- It is simple to produce at home.
- The production of domestic compost helps us to recycle a good part of our organic waste.
- Compost also improves the water retention properties of the soil, helping the most arid soils not to need as much irrigation.
Now that you know what composting is and its advantages or benefits, we will explain how to make organic homemade compost with a step-by-step guide and more details about the suitable materials and those that are not recommended to use.
How to compost at home: organic waste that you can use
When you consider how to compost at home , it is very important to know what waste you can or cannot use in its preparation. Here is a list of organic waste that you can use , classified by decomposition times, as well as an indication of those that should not be used:
Fast decomposing waste
- Green weed
- Green leaves
- Grass trimmings
Slow decomposition waste
- Dried flowers or potted plants
- Hedge pruning remains
- Dry plants
- Straw or hay
- Skins and remains of fruits and vegetables
Very slow decomposition residues
- Wood chips
- Remains of pruning or clearing of branches or woody hedges
- Nut shells
- Fruit pits
Waste that should be used sparingly
- Firewood ashes
- Cardboards or paper derivatives
Waste that you should NOT use
- Coal ash
- Magazines or color prints
- Cigar Filters
- Meat of any kind
Logically, the list of materials that cannot be used is much broader, but those mentioned are some of the ones that generally cause more errors in compost production. In principle, all biodegradable material can become compost with enough time, but the use of some of these materials can cause that, although they are biodegradable, they attract unwanted pests or cause bad odors.
How to make homemade compost step by step
Now that you know the basics, we can move on to the important thing: how to make homemade compost step by step? Follow these instructions to get it:
Compost material at home
The first thing you need to ask yourself is where you are going to make the compost. If you live in a house with a large lot, you can compost in a simple pile on the ground. It is simple and comfortable, although, logically, it cannot be done anywhere. If not, the first thing you will need is a composter or compost bin. They are easy to find to buy, although making your own is also very simple. You can make it from old pallets or from planks yourself. The important thing is that it has drainage and allows the free circulation of air in a good part of its structure, not only above. In short, you will need:
- 1 compost bin or a piece of land.
- 1 pruning shears or tongs to shred the remains.
- 1 rake to remove compost.
- Organic waste that you produce at home on a regular basis.
Steps to make homemade compost
- Prepare and locate the composter or area where you will start the compost pile.
- Separate your organic waste . You must separate them between wet waste and dry waste. The first are fruit or vegetable remains, green remains from pruning or clearing, etc. The second are materials without moisture, such as dry branches or leaves .
- It forms a base or bed with the most woody materials available: pine cones, branches or pruning of hard bushes. This will facilitate the aeration of the compost, something vital for its proper production.
- Add a first layer of dry waste that you have, always shredded with scissors. From here, you have to alternate the layers of wet and dry waste to make homemade compost quickly, or at least to produce it as quickly as possible. In addition, there are those who recommend that wet waste be approximately twice that of dry. This will not be a problem, because usually a household produces many more of these in the form of food and pruning remains, such as vegetable peelings or coffee grounds .
- Water the organic waste a little , always without flooding it, so that the moisture penetrates into the different points of the container. It will be necessary to water and stir the compost from time to time.
- If bad odors appear, it may be because you have added invalid residues or because you are maintaining an excessive level of humidity in the compost bin. If this happens, add dry residue and stir . Don’t worry, if all goes well, the compost pile won’t produce bad smells or attract pests. At most, a few small fruit flies that won’t wander off the pile and actually help the process.
And how long does it take to compost at home? Well, it depends on the weather conditions and the waste used, but it is an initially slow process. The first time it will take about 9 months to have your compost, but later you can get it every 2 or 3 months. The good thing is that once you manage to start and have the first compost, if you keep filling it and control the process a bit, you will always have homemade compost available.