If you are struggling with growing plants and nutrient deficiency is the main cause of their death.
Then you must use compost to grow string plants and to reduce your overall growing cost.
It is natural and easy to and easy to make at home. No experience is required and today I will explain everything about compost and its uses in simple words.
What is Compost?
Compost is an organic substance that you can make at home or buy from the market.
It has all the essential nutrients that a plant needs to grow.
By mixing compost in potting soil, you can increase the fertility of that soil mix. The best part is you can mix compost with any soil mix.
This way you can grow plants without facing nutrient deficiencies.
In simple words, compost is a complete food for your nutrient-deficient soil.
The process of making compost is called composting. Compost itself has many nutrients like Nitrogen, Potassium, and some trace minerals.
The nutritional value of compost directly depends on the substances that are selected to decompose to make a good amount of composting material.
When the collected organic material decomposes properly. It releases its nutritional value in the compost.
This is the reason you should always use disease-free ingredients to make homemade compost.
Composting is the Lifeline of a Garden
If your garden soil is not perfect for growing fruits and vegetables. Just add compost to the soil and the soil will be ready for planting within 2 days.
The soil absorbs the nutrients from the compost as well as the plants.
To make nutrient-rich compost you need to collect organic waste like leaves, grass, your kitchen waste, eggshells, etc.
Many people also use animal manure along with these ingredients.
In composting, you make a heap of organic waste at a place and wait for the material to convert into hummus.
It takes more than 30 days to make compost at the home.
All you need to do is just give it sufficient water to keep it wet to start decomposing and regularly turn the mixture so that the mixture can get fresh air.
I use Tumbler compost bins for making this highly nutritional material at home.
By adding compost to your garden soil, you can grow any type of plant.
Benefits of Using Compost for Plants
Increase Soil Nutrients
As I said compost is a rich and organic source of NPK. These 3 nutrients are essential for all types of plants.
When plants absorb nutrients from the soil. The soil goes out of nutrients after some time.
By adding compost to the nutrient-deficient soil, you can refill the storage of essential nutrients.
When I grow philodendrons, Alocasia and Monsteras I always mix compost in potting soil. These plants need a constant supply of nutrients.
It is possible in two ways.
One is to use synthetic fertilizers regularly. But this can result in overfertilizing and is a costly idea.
On the other hand, compost is a cheap ingredient and you can mix it in the soil.
The natural substances in it take time to decompose.
In my experience plants grown in compost-mixed soil always produce a higher yield.
Clean-Up Contaminated Soil
Compost helps to clean up the pesticides and other harmful chemicals from the soil.
Compost contains many types of microorganisms that break down the chemical compounds in the soil and convert them to helpful bacteria.
Keep in mind that compost cannot kill pathogens. They are very harmful to plants and you must not mix compost in pathogen-contained soil.
There are other methods of sterilizing the soil that can kill pathogens.
Recycle kitchen Waste
You will be surprised to know that you can make your compost by using kitchen waste and plant waste.
You can mix eggshells, a Variety of Vegetable scrap, used coffee, used green tea bags, rice, etc to make homemade organic compost.
Organic compost can contain any nutritional material. This helps you to recycle your kitchen waste and increase your garden health.
Do not add decaying fruits to compost material.
To increase the nitrogen content in your compost powder. You must add broken stems and fallen leaves of plants.
Adding more green material means increasing the nutritional value of compost.
Manage Garden Waste
No need to throw out the garden waste and no need to call the lawn movers to clean garden waste for you.
Just collect all the garden waste including green and dry leaves, broken branches, dead grass, dead plants, etc in one place.
Add some water and wait until it decomposes completely and you get good-quality compost at home.
This way you can save your money in two ways.
One is you do not need to buy compost from the market and the second is you don’t need to pay for the garden cleaning to garden management agencies.
Use a garden fence to protect your compost heap from rodents and other animals.
Reduce Greenhouse Gases
When the garbage department picks up the food waste to throw into landfills.
It cannot decay properly due to many reasons and the half-decomposed material releases methane gas into the environment.
This gas contributes to global warming.
You can help the world to reduce this gas by making compost for your garden from house waste.
Moreover, it is a good and easy way to reduce fertilizer expenses.
How to Use Compost in the Garden?
Take a good amount of compost where you want to mix it.
Use the garden fork and tilt the upper 6 inches of soil. After that spread the compost equally over the treated area.
Now again till the soil so that the compost can go deep into the soil and the soil stay on top.
This way compost stays in the upper 6 to 9 inches of soil. leave the area for 5 to 7 days and let the compost work.
After a week you can plant any type of crop or flowering.
You can make a liquid fertilizer out of your compost called compost tea.
Once your compost is ready put it in one basket and add some water to it.
One part of compost and three parts of water are the ideal composition.
Leave the mixture for 48 hours and stir it a couple of times a day. Now give this liquid to your plants.
You can use the same batch of compost up to 3 times to make liquid fertilizer at home.
This compost tea acts like a fast-absorbing fertilizer and it is best to use on indoor plants. Sometimes people do not mix compost with indoor potting soil.
Because sometimes compost releases a bad smell on decaying.
But you can use compost tea without worrying about the smell. You will notice changes in your plants within 48 hours.
Add to Potting mix
Add compost to your homemade potting mix formula or give a few ounces of compost to each plant.
Tropical plants need a good amount of moisture for their entire life. But they are also prone to overwatering.
So, you need a substance that can hold enough amount of moisture without being wet. Luckily compost is one of them.
Whenever I make a potting mix for succulents and fast-growing plants. I always add compost and perlite to the soil mix.
If you have general potting soil and want to increase its draining capabilities. Then simply add a few ounces of compost to it.
It allows the soil to drain extra water out of the potting mix. Also, supply a good amount of nutrients.
Go to Amazon and check the ingredients of fast-draining soil. You will always find compost in almost every formula.
How to Make Organic Compost at Home?
You can make compost by following the below steps.
Select a container that you think is enough big for the amount of compost you want.
Make two holes at the bottom and on the sides. Make holes 5 inches apart vertically and 10 inches apart horizontally.
Imply use compost tumblers like me. They are one-time investments and have years of life.
Rodents are the real enemy of the compost heap. It is best to make it in an enclosed chamber like a compost bin.
Good Airflow is a must to make compost out of organic material.
Therefore, add a few tree branches and twigs at the bottom of the container.
This allows the air to enter the container and prevents fungus-like problems.
If there is a fungus in your compost heap then lack of fresh air is the problem. Fungus in compost means it is contaminated and no longer useful.
Discard the material and start again.
You need to give your compost a balance of Nitrogen, Water, Air, and Carbon dioxide.
The greens you add to it give nitrogen and dry browns release carbon dioxide.
Now the question is how to make the balance. The simple technique is to use green parts and brown wooden stems in equal amounts.
2 parts of green leaves and vegetables and 1 part of brown dry stems.
Some of the best compost ingredients are:
- Dry plant leaves
- Dog food
- Old herbs
- Shredded newspaper
- Green Leaves, etc.
Things to Avoid:
Do not add meat, dairy items, and bread of any kind because these materials attract pests.
This action can contaminate the compost.
Also, avoid adding processed foods because they took too long to decompose.
One of my friends add left pizza to its compost heap. It took 3 months to decompose and he tilt so many times.
Then, in the end, he uses compost accelerators to decompose material fast.
If you want to know the secret to make excellent compost, it is mixing the ingredients well.
Mix the material well once a week until it completely decomposes and your compost gets ready.
By mixing I mean simply tilting the material and adding water if necessary.
Add water to the mixture when you feel it is getting dry.
The important thing is to cover the container with a lid to prevent rot and other fungus conditions.
You will get homemade organic compost in just a few months.
When your mixture turns black color and releases heat and feels warm to the touch, this means the compost is ready.
Difference between Composting and Fertilizing?
The main difference between compost and fertilizers is fertilizers are made to feed the plant and compost is made to nourish the soil.
Fertilizers add more nutrients to the soil. Moreover, commercial fertilizers are easy for plant roots to absorb.
They come in the ready-to-use form and some of them need dilution.
On the other hand, compost does not need dilution and is not quickly absorbed. It takes time to break down the organic compounds and make them available to plants.
It is best for slow-growing plants. Whereas fertilizers are for fast-growing and moderate-growing plants.
Composting the garden generally has no limit but fertilizers are required according to the plant’s needs and health.
Using compost and fertilizers together is the best combination to grow fruits and vegetables in the yard.