Why make compost
You will not believe this crap! “Swimming in manure makes me grow strong and healthy!” Said the sunflower to the green bean.This is the conversation between plants. Let’s learn to help them out.
If you follow me this far you know that I live in Yuma, Southwest Arizona and it’s you know – desert. We lack organic matter. We can simply add animal manure, mulched grass cutting, peat moss, kitchen scraps and newspaper. This is the next best thing for organic matter that we can make because you can’t buy it from any store. Well you can but we are helping mother-nature out as well. We are recycling, going green if you would.
And because some of us live in the desert some of our backyard has caliche. Composting helps with the breaking up of the tough soil and that rough rock like substance that root can’t penetrate. Only thing you can do is remove the caliche. By composting it help stop or slow down the caliche process.
Unless you want to go out to your backyard and have at it with a hammer. Try a jack hammer while your at it. It’s going to take you a long time. By the time you’re done you’ll hate working in your yard. We don’t want that. We want to enjoy and have fun.
What is composting
Composting is the breakdown of organic materials by fungi and bacteria dancing away having a blast. Composting starts with those vegetable bits, kitchen scraps, and egg shells that we toss out every time we cook.
When combined leave it outside it starts to rot and fungus will come out to have a fiesta. Woohoo, party time. They will bring along their bacteria buddies, party a little bit get drunk and throw up to produce what we want – compost. Yep it’s fungi and bacteria poop and throw up that we want. That’s what our garden wants, the aftermeth (pun intended) addicting to our veggies.
Some composting materials can be wood shaving, cardboard box, newspaper print, (not the shinning fliers) straw, sawdust, fallen leaves, and as I mention before animals extractions. Live manure, what I mean by live is fresh/raw manure. It has a strong burning effect that damage the plant roots, leaves, and stems. You need to let it cure for at lease two weeks because, the animals may have also been given chemical additives during feeding time.
Composting work at best when it’s hot and humid. It create a lot of heat and with it does that it eliminate weed seeds, insect eggs and disease organism. Which is it helpful because you don’t need more headaches pulling weeds, killing insects, or catching some ugly illness.
When composting bigger materials or items make sure you chop, cut, slice the materials into smaller pieces because large pieces are harder to decompose. This is what my mom does. My mom is always my go to for garden help all the time.
What cannot be composted
Now make sure that none of these are in your compost: meat scraps, greasy materials, fish, bones, and poisonous plants like oleander, plastics, large woods, styrofoams, and metals.
Meat and smelly stuff attracts vermin and flies which it’s a nuisance and health hazards for if you have small children and pets.
We all know that plastic and other aluminum is recyclable but not in your compost.
Making the compost
Find a flat surface, it could either be an area that is in your backyard away from children and pets. You can use a pallet, trash bin, or chicken wire anything that will make a four wall bin with an opening at the top to put scraps in and at the bottom where the good compost will be.
You want to keep this at least 3′ X 3′ wide and deep just so you can turn it from time to time if the bacteria do not begin to work fast enough. Using a tiller is the best way to turn it.
However, do, please wear gloves. If your compost pile is too wet ease off the watering and If it becomes too compact till it. Plus it need heat to, don’t forget to put your compost pile where there’s plenty of sunshine.
Make sure when piling your compost mother-nature can’t blow your pile away. While father-time mix the materials together. Also, those eyeing birds lurking to take materials for their nest building. They are not only seed thieves but also twig thieves to. I have seen it guys and gals. Believe you, me.
Layering works best. Start with some newspaper, the kitchen scraps, and grass cutting. Then if you have animals manure, pour a layer of that on top. You can use store bought manure to it’s just dirt it help with the heating process. If not, no worries. Pile up more plant materials. Remember to keep it damp. Don’t over water your pile and do not let water sit on it because then the bacteria will not form and they’ll just be wash away any bacteria that wants to take up resident can’t because it’s too wet.
When to tell when it’s working
So in a month and a half or two your compost will start to turn dark, moldy, and have insects. Don’t be alarm it’s a good thing. They are like earthworms in the ground tilling your land for you. The maggots that comes with flies. These are bad bugs. These insects on your pile are the good kind. The insects are making a temporary home. They are doing the work for you. They are going to smell a little but if you didn’t put anything that attract flies you have nother to worry about.
Using the compost
Finally you have your compost time to use it. The compost act as a soil conditioner and helps with irrigation by softening up the soil. The mulching substance help with opening tighten soil so the roots can breathe. Even plant roots need oxygen to grow to, if your dirt is too tight then the plant will die off. Place couple of inches of compost on or around the vegetables garden or flower bed for good nutrients.
You can buy perlite and mix it up with the compost. Then you can use it around houseplants and container planting. Make sure you use it often and regularly for best results in your garden. Large amount of organic compost is needed before there’s any big results but this is where to start. Rinse and repeat until you have a green lushes garden.
I hope this information is educational. I hope that this will help you how to make your own compost bin. If you have any tips, ideas, or comments please leave it on my comment section and I will get in touch with you. Thanks for coming!
Update January 15, 2018
Here is my compost that I left sitting in my backyard on top of an area on the ground. Look at the dark color. I doesn’t smell so which it is a good indicator that it was composting very well. This is just grass cuttings, leaves, twigs, and other biodegradable materials.