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What are the Best Composting Tips?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Composting is an environmentally friendly way to create a nutrient source for plants. By combining organic matter and allowing it to decay, the compost can be mixed with soil, and provide nourishment for vegetables, fruit trees, and even flowers. In order to make the most of your compost heap, it is a good idea to employ a few basic composting tips.

Many people assume that any organic material is suitable for composting. In fact, some materials could create problems with the quality of your compost. Avoid including processed fats, animal products, and pet droppings. Not only will materials like these hurt the quality of the compost itself, they will also attract pests and possibly create a breeding ground for disease.

Grass clippings are a common part of many compost heaps. One of the more important composting tips is to always include other materials that add carbon to the mixture. This helps to balance the nitrogen produced from the clippings and expedite the decomposition process. Examples of materials that will add carbon include dead leaves, wood chips, and newspaper. Be sure to shred the newspaper before placing it into your compost bin.

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Many composting tips are all about maintaining a proper balance of elements in the pile. While it is fine to include ashes in your compost, be aware that the ash will add a significant amount of alkaline. This can impact the pH level of the compost. Balance the alkaline by adding materials like oak leaves or pine needles.

When it comes to a container for your compost materials, there are several ways to make inexpensive composting bins. One approach involves using discarded pallets. Use one wooden pallet for the base; drive two stakes into each side of the pallet, then slide other pallets over the stakes to create a compost box. During the winter months, line the box with black plastic, as this will allow the decomposition to continue at a steady pace.

Not everyone understands what compost is supposed to look like when it’s ready. This is one of the most overlooked of all composting tips. Your compost is ready for use when the materials are no longer recognizable, and are a uniform dark color that is almost black, similar to very rich soil. The decomposition process reduces the volume of the materials by roughly half, but keep in mind the density of the compost is much higher than that of the original materials.

Before use, make what is known as a compost tea. This is basically combining a measured amount of the finished compost with water. Allow the product to steep for a few minutes, not unlike steeping tea leaves for a cup of tea. This will help get the nutrients into the soil quicker, thus increasing the effectiveness of the compost.

There are also composting tips that may be helpful in certain climates. Factors like humidity, temperature, and the types of plants grown in the area may also influence exactly how you create your compost heap. Ask locals about composting tips that work well around your community, and chances are the finished product will be ideal for nourishing any type of plants you wish to grow.

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