Composting

Once I moved into my own house, I made a compost pile right away. I picked a sunny spot (compost loves sun and heat) in my lawn, cleaned the area with my machete, pulled out weeds, and set it up. You can compost using a wooden box, plastic barrel, bamboo box, an enclosure of chicken wire, or just a pile out in the open (if you do not have a lot of animals or rain). Since I had extra chicken wire from other projects, I decided to use that. It is tall enough that animals cannot stick their heads in, but not too tall that I cannot turn the pile. I simply made a cylinder with the chicken wire, attaching it with string and zip ties. As compost piles do not like too much rain, I cover the top with an old plastic sack, weighed down by a bamboo branch.
Throughout the week, I collect food scraps (‘green materials’) in a cubo in my kitchen. This includes egg shells, veggie and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, and tea bags. Never put meat, fish, or dairy products in your compost! In addition to green materials, it is necessary to put in ‘brown’ materials. This can include animal manure (not dog or cat!), coconut husks, dried grass and leaves, and crushed old cacao pods. Every time you put a layer of green material in your compost, you should ideally put in two layers of brown materials.
It will take several months before your compost is ready to use in your garden. Each week, turn your pile so that everything on top gets heated in the center. After about six months, the compost should be ready to use. Some people have several composts going at once, letting one break down while filling up the other. I just use the same one and it all breaks down continuously. When I go to use the compost, I just dig from the bottom sides where the materials have already broken down. I use my compost directly in my garden, as well as in pots (cubos in my case). It is best to mix it a little with the surrounding natural soil. I have definitely found that my plants and herbs have grown stronger and bigger with the added nutrients of my compost! What are your composting techniques?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s