Compost is ready for use when the temperature in the compost pile drops to the temperature of the surrounding air. The developed compost should be a fine crumbly, dark mixture. The pH is usually around 7.5. It should have an earthly smell. You can use compost as soon as it becomes ready. Compost stacked in a pile for later use may loose some of the nutrients through leaching. Old compost is still a good soil conditioner even if some leaching out of the nutrients occurred.
Compost contains valuable nutrients that could replace or supplement use of commercial fertilizers by homeowners.
Proper home composting of organic garden wastes can reduce air pollution, reduce the volumes at the landfill or incinerator.
Volunteer home composting is the most cost effective method of dealing with the yard and compostable kitchen waste.
Many organic materials which you may have been burning or throwing in the garbage is recyclable by composting. Composting being the most efficient way to divert organic wastes from our county's solid waste stream
Worms are not a necessary part of composting, though they can be beneficial to the process. Vermicomposting is a form of composting that uses redworms in a specialized composting bin. It is a good way to compost food scraps, paper, and yard waste.
Things that should never be added to compost are meat, bones, and fatty food wastes, anything that was chemically treated, diseased plants, weeds that could potentially spread to the area where the compost is used, or human and pet feces.
Acts as a fertilizer and supplies required nutrients that aid the growth of plants
Helps plants build resistance to disease and pests
Breaks down toxins in the soil, and improves its texture
High in humus, improving soil fertility and structure. Humus also improves water retention
Uses waste products to produce soil fertilizer. This also helps in reducing the load on landfills
Save money, because it reduces the plants’ requirement for chemical pesticides and fertilizers
Collect a mixture of equal amounts of green and brown ingredients in a bin. The mixture must make a layer at least 2 feet tall. A larger pile is even better. It will help retain the heat and moisture better. Mix the ingredients thoroughly, and water it as you mix. Over time, as the microbes begin to work on the compost, it will warm up. Turn the compost with a pitchfork every couple of weeks. When the mixture does not warm up anymore, stop turning the heap around, and leave it undisturbed. Always ensure that the heap is moist and aerated. Turning the pile aerates the compost.
Organic composting can take anywhere from 6 weeks to a year. The end result will be a condensed, dark brown, earthy substance that is pleasant smelling. For best results, let the compost mature for a couple of months before using it.
Waste materials can be blended to improve the carbon-nitrogen balance and hasten decomposition. For example, leaves are typically in a ratio of 40-80 units of carbons to 1 unit of nitrogen. Although leaves will compost slowly by themselves, they can benefit from additional nitrogen. Mixing leaves with a high nitrogen waste, such as grass clippings, manure, or nitrogen fertilizer will accelerate the decomposition process. Adding one part grass clippings to three parts leaves, or two pounds of nitrogen fertilizer to a cubic yard of leaves, will balance these nutrients and help composting proceed in the shortest possible time. The table below presents estimates of the C:N ratios of various compostable materials.
Composting is an aerobic process, which means it occurs in the presence of oxygen. Oxygen is provided in two ways:
by turning the compost, either by front-end loader or a specialized compost turner;
by building the pile correctly, so surface air can diffuse into the center.
Compost is mature and ready to use when it looks crumbly and has an earthy smell. It can then be dug into the top-soil of garden beds or spread as a mulch under trees and bushes. Compost also makes a very good potting mix for houseplants or seedling trays.
By composting your organic waste you are returning nutrients back into the soil in order for the cycle of life to continue. Finished compost looks like soil–dark brown, crumbly and smells like a forest floor.
Compost is the end product of the composting process. Composting is a cheap, effective and environmentally friendly method of producing compost from various materials such as food waste, manure, worms, pet waste, paper, grass, newspaper, coffee grounds, etc. into usable fertilizer.