One of the best things you can do for your garden is to make your own compost. While you can buy compost in bulk in many areas you can never beat homemade compost that you have control over. this is a great way to lower your carbon footprint and help your garden thrive to provide even more food for your family.
Take great care of your compost
The better care you take of your compost the more value you can get from it. Keeping your compost well cared for and not simply forgetting it to the elements can get your plants more nutrition while helping to speed up the breakdown of organic matter so you can use it faster. The richest compost will have a nice deep, almost black color.
Rotate your compost
Rotation of your compost is essential. In doing so, you contribute to ensuring that the nutrients in your compost bin remain relatively even for your plants. In addition to breaking down the contents of your compost bin.
Rotating your compost helps to distribute the air and bacteria necessary for decomposition, and will help keep the nutrient levels consistent. This is one mistake I have made in the past. Simply forgetting my compost and not rotating it left me with a stinky useless mess. I find I do best with compost tumblers.
Add some bacteria
Bacteria is vital for everything in life. Your compost is not different. By adding bacteria you can speed up the breakdown of your compost and help more nutrients get to your plants. Your compost is a great way to use beer in your garden or make use of that wine leftover from your last party so nothing goes to waste.
Bacteria is so important to your compost that you can buy compost starters and boosters that add bacteria to your compost. When I find myself with leftover yeast from baking that no longer works as well as it used to we toss that into the compost as well.
In order to protect your compost, you might want to avoid composting things that kill bacteria, such as basil, onions, garlic, and citrus peels. These materials may take longer to compost or reduce the overall quality of your compost.
Prevent your compost from drying out
You may notice that your compost pile dries out over time if you live in a drought-prone area during the summer. You may notice a slow decomposition of the contents of your compost bin or pile as a result of this, and even find that your compost is too dry to use.
During times of drought, you can water your compost just as you would your garden to help keep it in good condition over the summer.
I like to add a bit of water to my compost when the summer is dry. I simply spray the hose into the tumbler and then turn it.
Keep your compost HOT
Your compost must get hot in order to break down everything quickly and evenly. This is something many people overlook when they are making compost for their gardens, choosing to set their compost bin out of the way in a shady spot.
Ideally, compost piles, bins, and tumblers should be exposed to full sunlight. When building a compost pile, it is best to choose a black or near-black container, as this will attract the heat of the sun and help heat the compost even more.
The majority of compost bins sold in stores are black. If you have a compost pile, you can use thick black sheeting or tarps to create a blanket that will attract and trap heat in your compost pile.
Keep it balanced
In order for your compost to thrive, the correct ratio of brown to green ingredients (nitrogen and carbon) must be maintained. Keeping your compost balanced is as simple as maintaining a one-to-one ratio though there are different options.
Getting browns for your garden can sometimes be tricky. I like to use dry grass clippings or old paper to help buffer the browns in my composter.
Be smart about your compost
From putting the right things into your compost to making sure you use the best parts of your compost there are some great things you can do to improve your compost and help your garden thrive.
Use the best part of your compost
Don’t let your compost’s best parts go to waste. One of the best things you can feed your plants to grow a thriving garden is the liquid that falls from your compost. Think of this as natural compost tea. As it sinks into the ground under your compost bin, this nutrient-rich fertilizer is wasted.
To make the most of this you should place your compost bin in the middle of a garden bed or place a plastic tray under it to catch the liquid so you can move it easily. When we grew bananas we would grow them with a compost tumbler inside.
Now we keep an under-the-bed tote under our composter to catch this liquid to put in the garden. The bees from the local bee sanctuary will swarm it in the summer for the juice from fruits.
Add more nutrient-dense ingredients
It depends on the ingredients you use in your compost to determine how the compost will turn out. When you add the best ingredients to your compost, you will get the best final product. You can get the most out of your compost by adding eggshells, banana peels, coffee grounds, and mushroom scraps.
We make a point of eating nutrient-dense foods for our family and in turn, our food scraps make some amazing compost for the garden or simply make great additions directly into the garden.
Add worms to your compost
If you want to improve the soil quality in your garden, worms can be very useful. In fact, worms are one of the best ways to build your garden soil. They can also be very helpful in compost piles. You can move worms to your garden with your compost once it is transferred to the soil.
Worms can break your compost down faster. Buy earthworms at your local bait and tackle store if you find worms in your garden or move them to the compost pile.