Want to compost, but not sure where to start? Confused about the difference between hot compost and cold compost? Considering worm composting, or perhaps even grub composting?
Here we will try to help you with a series of articles how to make your own compost, how to make (D.I.Y.) your own equipment, starting with the present one which explains the basic composting methods.
The choice of composting method depends on :
1. The amount and type of organic waste you have
2. The available space and the time you want to spend
Feel free to share your own tips in the comments.
We place a large quantity of a mixed organic materials in the compost bin , creating conditions where microorganisms thrive and is generating significant amounts of heat.
Hot composting is not rocket science, and it doesn’t require expensive equipment or capital outlay. But it does need some careful attention, and the ability to gather significant amounts of the right kinds of biomass.
With hot composting you can produce compost in less than 12 weeks if aeration is performed sufficiently and the composting mixture has the proper ratio of C and N .
You need to mix significantly more carbon-rich, woody “brown” materials with smaller amounts of nitrogen rich “greens”. How exact you want to be is up to you, but the correct ratio is about 25 -30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen.
You will also need to spend some time turning the heap every few weeks and checking the temperature and humidity.
All organic materials are shredded before being added to the pile . For this purpose they can be used mechanical shredders , or other mechanical means .
The temperature rises up to 60° C . High temperatures in the stack contribute to the destruction of pathogenic microorganisms. But temperatures above 60 ° C can kill useful microorganisms . In this case required turning of the heap or adding bulky brown material to reduce the temperature .
In most home composting bins we don’t notice any warming but this does not mean that is not evolving the process of biomass biostabilisation . That happens because the addition of biomass is carried out gradually (continuous feeding) and the amount of biomass is never sufficient to generate high temperatures.
Cold composting is great for those who may not generate huge amounts of organic waste at any time, or those who simply don’t have the time, energy or interest for more involved methods. But be prepared to wait if you want to use the end result up to 12 months.
Because cold composting doesn’t involve turning the pile, getting enough oxygen to avoid anaerobic decomposition (and the slime and smell that goes with it) can be tricky. One of the best methods is to simply add plenty of scrunched up newspaper, cardboard and other high-fiber, carbon-rich materials in with your kitchen scraps and other waste.
By this method , no time is needed to control the proper mixing and moisture . If the purpose is to recycle and reduce waste at the source , the slow process contribute to the recycling of organic materials and requires minimal time monitoring on the part of households.
Cold composting is much less-labor intensive, but considerably slower than hot composting methods. Composting bins, or piles, are simply filled up as compostable materials become available.Compost can be harvested gradually as it becomes ready by digging from the bottom of the heap.
Alternatively, you can build up one cold compost heap or bin over a season, and then let it sit while you start filling up the next. In my experience it can take up to a year, using this method, to achieve good, usable compost.
Worm composting, or vermicomposting, is a much touted solution for indoor composting, or those with little space. Commercially available worm composters can be purchased from garden stores, or online, or a simple system can be built using a few plastic tubs, and some newspaper.
It is a faster composting process than cold composting, and needing much less space than hot composting.