How many times have you wasted apple peels, onions, tea bags, eggshells … but from now on it’s over, you change your life! Below, we will show you how to make a DIY composter and turn all this waste into organic compost.
Don’t you know what we’re talking about? Don’t worry, we will explain to you point by point what it is.
What is compost
Compost is the final result of composting: a process of decomposition of organic materials in which microorganisms, fungi, earthworms, and oxygen intervene. This avoids that the residues decompose and bring bad smells, allowing us to create an excellent quality fertilizer known as compost.
What do you need to make compost
- Organic matter
- Dry leaves
- Humidity and oxygen
What you can put in your DIY composter
- Remnants of fruit and vegetables. (For banana and citrus peels, it is recommended to limit the quantities)
- Coffee and tea. Even some filters can be composted, in the case of sachets pay attention to the metal staples!
- Withered flowers and plants you have at home
- Sawdust, wood shavings and ash (untreated and pellets).
- Remnants of gardening and vegetable garden
- Remnants of pruning of trees, bushes, and shrubs (previously cut into small pieces) and grass
- Household waste: kitchen paper, cardboard, and corrugated cardboard egg boxes, newspapers (without color prints)
How compost is made
1. Take or create a compost bin
Just install a compost bin near the ground and in a damp or shady place. If you live in an apartment, you can use a worm compost and place it on a terrace, patio or in the kitchen.
2. Add organic matter
First, you need to put a layer of dry materials (leaves, branches). Then, add the remnants of organic matter that you have recycled and water abundantly.
If you prefer, you can cut or crush the remains to speed up the composting process.
3. Add land
Add a layer of dry materials again and cover it with some earth.
You will need to move him and stir occasionally since, as mentioned earlier, the composting process needs oxygen, so it is best to aerate often. Help yourself with a hoe, a hoe or a fork as shown.
How to understand when it’s ready
Typically, it takes 4 to 6 months to obtain compost or organic fertilizer.
As for the quantity obtained, it will depend on the absorption capacity of the materials used for composting (the number of materials, whether they have been chopped or not, how often we have moved them …)
To get an idea, we can roughly get around 20 kg of compost per 100 kg of organic waste.
Important stages of composting
1. The temperature
Due to the activity of the microorganisms that develop, our compost will heat up, reaching a temperature of about 60 °C. Normally the temperature will then gradually decrease autonomously. If not, we will have to consider the type of compost materials:
- If they are very dry: they can cause the appearance of gray mold. It will, therefore, be necessary to water them to bring down the temperature and recover the necessary humidity.
- If they have a strange smell and a greenish appearance: in this case, it means that there is too much water in the compost. Add dry green waste (branches, leaves, dry grass)
- Fresh or semi-ripe compost
After reaching high temperatures, or peak heat, they will begin to appear in the upper part of the manure worms (pink and with white rings). It is at this time that the compost is considered fresh or semi-ripe. It can be used scattered on poor and sandy soils, or put around plants.
- Ripe compost
The mature compost can be used when you plant trees and shrubs. Its main feature is its dark color, due to the high concentration of fertilizer.
There are three main composting techniques. The choice of technique to be used depends on the space available and the time available.
1. Cumulus composting
It consists of creating a heap of fertilizer on the ground. It can be done if you have a lot of space (in a large garden or vegetable garden). The operation is the same, in layers, but in this case, they overlap horizontally, making the process much faster.
2. Composting in silos
For this method of composting, a large container, usually cylindrical or wooden, is needed and will be covered with transparent plastic. One of the sides is removable, to facilitate checking the progress of our compost.
3. Direct composting in the ground
This is the direct decomposition of waste in nature. They are then deposited in the soil where the crop will be found until their decomposition. It is the simplest technique as it requires no effort.
Why choose a DIY composter?
Still, not convinced? Here are other reasons why it is important to create your fertilizer with composting:
- It is a solution to fertilize soils 100% natural, without chemicals that worsen the quality of the soil by contaminating it.
- Humus is created in the soil, which will encourage plant growth.
- It contributes to domestic recycling, reducing organic residues and contributing to the reduction of environmental problems related to transport and treatment.
- It’s a great way to collaborate and create a community (try creating a composting center in your neighborhood, or a common area of your condominium)