Keep calm and compost on! Composting is a great way to add rich nutrients to soil by adding soil microbes, also known as microorganisms, to a soil food web. What is a soil food web you ask? A soil food web involves the diversity of organisms that thrive inside of soil. These organisms include algae, fungi, and bacteria all the way to earthworms, insects, plants, and more.
Turn Your SPOIL Into SOIL
Composting is a key aspect to landscaping ANY type of garden because EVERYONE wants their gardens to look their best and create the best produce. Composting does more than create beautiful plants. In fact, it prevents pollutants from entering plant water ways by decomposing organic compounds.
Compost enhances the ability for plants to fight diseases with microorganisms much like how white blood cells fight diseases in our bodies. On top of that, rich and nutrient-filled compost, can improve the flavor and nutritional value of vegetables and fruits.
Compost allows gardens to produce healthy plants as well as reduce your volume of biodegradable trash.
Starters Guide for Composting
There is not an exact recipe to follow when creating your own compost pile. Some people put vegetables and fruit scraps, grass, and leaves into their compost. A good rule of thumb is, if it was grown from the ground, it can be put back into it. Because microorganisms (tiny organisms that live in the soil) are what decomposes the ingredients to make compost, make sure you put some in with your compost pile by adding a couple of scoops of top soil.
Carbon and Nitrogen are also very important aspects to a compost pile. Now don’t run away because we are getting all scientific… there is a SUPER easy way to ensure both Carbon and Nitrogen. Nitrogen is found in “brown” organic matter while carbon is found in “green” matter. “Brown” organic matter is referring to matter that comes from trees while “green” matter is referring to other organic materials that come from the kitchen or the garden. You want to use about 75% “brown” waste and 25% “green” waste to create the ideal compost pile.
Once you have started your compost pile, you want to make sure you keep it damp using water. Try watering it every other day. You also want to make sure there is air flow in order to aerate your microorganisms by drilling holes in the compost bin and stirring it regularly. Composition will eventually happen either way but stirring it regularly helps the decomposition process move faster.
Finished compost should look like regular brown soil and should smell equivalent to normal soil. It your compost has a different odor, it could be that it is still decomposing, has too much moisture, doesn’t have enough aeration, or you are using too much “green” waste.
A cup of tea makes everything better. This tea is easy to make and is also packed with nutrients… FOR PLANTS! Compost tea uses microorganisms to fight diseases in plants just as white blood cells fight diseases in our bodies. With compost tea, the compost is soaked in water with unsulphured molasses which acts as a “food” for the microorganisms to feed on and left open with an aquarium filter in order to aerate the microbes. Compost tea acts as a breeding ground for microorganisms which makes them “big and strong” and able to fight off other “bad” microorganisms that can already exist on your plants. This process takes approximately 24-48 hours after you have made the compost. Compost Tea is usually used for indoor plants but can also be used on outdoor plants.
In order to make Compost Tea, you will need:
5 Gallon Bucket, 1 Gallon of compost (no worms/bugs and fully composted), Pillowcase or Mesh Bag (acts as tea bag), Twine, 1 cup Unsulphured Molasses, Aquarium Pump, Watering Can
Fill up your five gallon bucket with approximately three gallons of water. Set up an aquarium pump inside of your bucket to allow for aeration. Place one gallon of compost into a pillowcase or mesh bag and tie it closed with twine. Place the compost “tea bag” into your bucket of water. Add a cup of unsulphured Molasses into the bucket to feed your microbes. Wait for 24-48 hours until the “tea” is a dark color and smells sweet and earthy. Use a watering can or spray bottle to apply your Compost Tea directly to your plant or at the base of your plant. Do not over water your plants. Use approximately one cup of tea for each use once a day or use two cups every other day.