Composting is the controlled biological degradation of solid organic waste to produce a humus-like substance. It is the process of allowing nature to change organic matter into a substance with useful applications for the environment.
What Do We Have Here:
- The Science of Composting
- Why Is Composting Important?
- What Is Compost?
- How to Be Successful at Composting?
- Factors to Consider When Composting
- 5 Simple Tips On How To Be Successful At Composting
- 9 Benefits of Composting
The Science of Composting
What Is Composting? It is the process of turning organic waste into nutrient-rich soil. And an environmentally-friendly way of reducing the amount of waste going to landfills. In fact, it is a great way to improve the quality of soil for plants and gardens. Hence, it is an old-age process of recycling organic material.
Let’s say you have your organic waste such as; food scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and other non-toxic materials. E.g. paper and cardboard. All you want is to turn them into a soil amendment. Then, composting must be on your list. But how to be successful at composting? Let’s find out!
Why Is Composting Important?
There is concern over the decline of soil fertility in most of the world. This decrease is partly because of an increase in cropping or farming strength. Many farmers try to manage with less than one acre of land because of the limited use of natural and artificial fertilizers.
Consequently, constant cultivation of a particular land reduces the soil nutrient and organic matter. It also destroys soil structure, creation, and profile. All these lead to a decrease in farm yields and harvest. That is why composting is very important.
What Is Compost?
The product of the controlled putrefaction of organic materials is what Compost is all about. When plant and animal materials and household wastes are gathered together in a heap or pit, the rotten left-over is what compost is. The microbes required in the process are already present in the waste materials.
Basically, For composting to be effective, they need nutrients, moisture, balanced pH, and air. Emphatically, farmers consider compost as “black gold” because of its advantages in the soil. Furthermore, It is an excellent material for agricultural soil.
Also, It is rich in nutrients that can boost the soil. Most people feel that Compost feeds the soil while fertilizer feeds the plants. Most people have the mistake of Composting and humus are the same, but in the real sense, they are not. It does not contain pure humus.
Some farmers believe that when vegetable matter decays, the remnants are composted. Still, it can also originate from the animal source, this denies the notion that they must get Compost through vegetables. Even though Manures may be decomposed, they are still manures, not what is Compost.
How to Be Successful at Composting?
Firstly, sorting the wastes is essential to separate organic materials like sawdust and wood chips from lumber mills, from inorganic materials such as glass, plastic, and metals. It is not recommended to directly apply organic materials into the soil without composting.
With this purpose in mind, It is important to note that some materials should be avoided when making Compost. Therefore, materials such as plastic tea bags and coffee bags, citrus peels and onion, fish and meat scraps, and seaweed chicken feathers should be avoided.
Also, peanut shells, coated paper, sticky labels on fruits and vegetable packaging, coal fire ash, and sawdust are not to be added. They could also slow down the process of decaying and destroying the microorganisms required for the composting proCompostingosting practices aim to transform natural substances into minerals and more nutrients plants can easily absorb for nourishment.
Factors to Consider When Composting
Aeration and Oxygen
This is an essential factor in Compost. The microorganisms required to break down the composting materials require oxygen.
Large amounts of oxygen are consumed during an aerobic composting process. Simple parts of the organic materials are quickly broken down during the first few days of composting.
Early on in the process, there is a greater need for oxygen and more heat is produced; as the process progresses, these needs diminish.
The composting process slows down if oxygen is limited and turns anaerobic in the absence of oxygen. For a properly run compost facility, a minimum oxygen content of 5% within the pore spaces of the composting material is advised.
Aeration not only adds oxygen but also eliminates gases like heat and water vapor that have been trapped in the composting materials. In fact, the rate of aeration needed to remove heat can be ten times higher than the rate needed to deliver oxygen.
It is the level of hotness or coldness of the comely, Compost requires sunlight. It should not overheat. Nonetheless, the aerobic microbes which feed on the compost produce heat within the bin. However, the green materials that are high in Nitrogen content also give nutrients that support heat generation within.
How much and how frequently aeration is needed is frequently influenced by temperature. When the temperature of the composting material is between the two temperature ranges known as Mesophilic (80o-120o F) and Thermophilic (105o-150o F), composting is most effective.
Microbes’ metabolic functions depend on moisture to survive. Water serves as a medium for chemical processes, transports nutrients, and enables the movement of microbes. According to theory, when the materials are saturated, biological activity is at its peak.
At the shredding step, moisture is introduced if necessary to mix with the processed materials. The materials should be kept adequately moist without becoming saturated or excessively dripping water.
The pH Balance
Because of the wide variety of microorganisms involved, the composting process is highly insensitive to pH within the range often seen in mixes of organic materials. The pH range between 6.5 and 8.0 is desirable. With raw materials comprising a high proportion, pH does become an issue.
The quickest composting time is ensured by the right moisture content, C:N ratio, and frequent aeration. Within 10 to 12 weeks, a properly run composting process should yield high-quality compost.
5 Simple Tips On How To Be Successful At Composting
1. You don’t want to be running out of space. Before you begin composting, make sure that you have plenty of space to spread your materials. This is especially important if you have a lot of food scraps.
2. Make a pile at least 4 to 5 feet deep and 3 feet wide, in a shaded, well-ventilated area.
3. This pile should be located at the base of a tree, in a corner, or a pile out in the open.
4. Make sure that the pile is covered with an inch of soil and that the surface is a fine, crumbly texture.
5. The main purpose of the pile is to allow air and nutrients to reach all parts of it so that it decomposes evenly and quickly.
9 Benefits of Composting
1. Composting boosts the soil with nutrients, which reduces the need for artificial fertilizer. These inorganic fertilizers and pesticides are potentially harmful to human health.
2. It increases the ability of the soil to retain moisture and prevent erosion. Erosion leads to nutrients insufficient soil and causes water pollution.
3. Compost suppresses the operation of diseases and pests on plants.
4. Composting helps to remove carbon from the environment.
5. It improves plant growth and quality harvest.
6. They increase the variety of life by attracting many kinds of worms, birds, fungi, and insects that are beneficial to the crop-growing process.
7. Economically saves money. It reduces the money spent on trash disposal into more money at home.
8. It also reduces unemployment. By creating more jobs for garbage carriers and graders
9. Compost helps to control the sour and salty levels in the soil.
Generally, going into composting, one had to decide to handle food waste, turning it into something valuable to man, animal (insect, reptile), and environmentally friendly. Compost makers are motivated by a desire to preserve resources and help replenish soils. Hence, they didn’t want to see peels, food, and yard waste go wrong. Compost is an opportunity to contribute back to the soil.
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