Compost: is there any other way to get free, nutrient dense, loamy soil with minimal effort? There are many ways to compost waste, but there are three major types including aerobic, anaerobic and vermicomposting. Any way you do it, the end result is the same that you’d find in any woodland – a rich, dark, soil that will fix up almost any type of problem dirt in your garden and help strengthen your plants.
Aerobic: Also known as “hot” composting. This type of compost usually requires a bit of manipulation. Frequent turning will aerate your pile keeping microbes very active and raise the interior temperature and thus speeding up the decay. Many additives are available to aid in raising the temperature from peanut meal to manures. Grass clippings and other high nitrogen “greens” will do the job as well. There are no foul odors associated with a well-maintained aerobic compost pile and therefore should not attract any unwelcome guests in the way of critters or insects.
Anaerobic: This is what happens on the forest floor or when you create a compost pile or bin and allow time to decompose the waste. Over time the weight of the waste will compact and most of the air will be eliminated. Slower working microorganisms decompose this type of compost and it can take several years to get any results.
Vermicompost: Using worms to decompose your kitchen waste. Special bins are available to house “red wigglers”. They feed on your scraps on the top of the bin and leave their castings and decomposed materials behind to sift out of the bottom.
I won’t attempt to rewrite any of the many books or articles available on compost. Instead, here are a few informative sites that you may find extremely helpful.
The Garden of Oz – The Basics of Composting
You can purchase or build a container to house your compost. I leave mine in an open pile, shaded by the woods and delineated with logs. My mother-in-law has a large hole dug in her yard – complete with a lid. You can use chicken wire, wooden pallets, or fencing to keep your pile intact. I know someone whose homeowner’s association does not allow composting. She’s dug a hole in her garden deep enough for a large trash bin complete with drainage holes and no one knows the better of it.
So, do you compost – and if so what type of composting do you use?