First off, what is compost?
Compost is a mixture of decomposed organic material packed with nutrients. Composting enriches soil, retains moisture, and suppresses plant disease or pests. Composting can also eliminate the need to use fertilizers for growth. Not only does composting aid in maintaining a healthy garden but also has benefits for the environment. The high volumes of water help prevent erosion in soil, reduce runoff, and establishes vegetation. It also can retain pollutants including metals, nitrogen, phosphorus, fuels, and pesticides from downstream water.
Composting may be a bit tricky to start up, so today we are going to talk about the difference between hot and cold compost and how to get them started.
Did you know, there are two types of composting: hot and cold.
- Cold composting comprises of collecting waste from the yard or collecting organic materials from the kitchen and piling them up in a compost bin as it will decompose on its own.
- Hot composting is more manual work. Hot compositing will decompose quicker with the following four ingredients: nitrogen, carbon, air, and water. These four ingredients together will feed microorganisms, which is why it is a faster process.
Steps on how to make hot compost:
- Combine brown and green materials into a pile
- Make sure the pile is at least 3-feet high
- Brown materials: dried plant material, dead leaves, tree twigs, carboard, newspaper, hay, etc.
- Green materials: kitchen and vegetable scraps, animals’ manure, plant, or grass trimmings.
- Water your pile
- Sprinkle water regularly to result in the consistency of a wet sponge
- Stir up your pile
- Turn once a week to provide oxygen.
- Best time to turn your pile is when it is warm (130-150 F).
- Feed your garden
- Add 4-6 inches of compost to the garden at the beginning of each planting season
How to make cold compost:
- Pick a location
- Out of direct sunlight but where it will receive rainwater!
- Build your bin
- Either build or buy a bin and make sure it can rotate to mix
- Add layers
- Use compost safe items
- Make sure items are broken up into smaller pieces to decompose faster
- Maintain and check on it
- Although there is little work to do, mix rotate the bin once a week and water it if it is not receiving water weekly
- Add to it in little amounts
- After 6 months to a year your compost pile is ready!
- Shovel out the ready material into the garden and start fresh!
Do you compost at home? Did you find this post helpful to get started composting at home? Let us know!!