In Brief: Compost Heap Method of Composting
Compost heaps are an excellent way to improve soil nutrients and make use of food that could have been thrown away and wasted. There are many different methods of composting, but one of the most popular is the compost heap method. There is a process that you need to follow to have a healthy and nutrient-dense pile of compost. Here are the highlights on this method of composting.
A compost heap is generally a pile of brown and green matter. It is a great way to reduce food wastage, and it helps in saving the environment.
The compost heap consists of decomposing organic matter, which decays and leaves behind fertilizer rich in nutrients, which is perfect for gardens.
What is the Compost Heap Method?
The compost heap method involves dumping organic materials such as carrot peels, leftover vegetables, stale bread and any other foodstuff in the same place to decompose.
When making a compost heap, you pick a designated place where you will be putting your heap of materials on the ground.
You could use a tub or a bin, but you could also heap on the ground, just make sure you put a fence around it to deter unwanted guests such as rodents.
The materials you will dump onto the heap should include nitrogen-rich materials, which are also referred to as ‘green’ materials, and carbon-heavy materials, which can also be termed as ‘brown’ materials.
Green materials are wet, and they include vegetable scraps, fruits, and coffee grounds, while brown materials include newspaper clippings and cardboards.
After piling them for a while, you should turn them over from time to time, preferably every other week, to allow for the free circulation of air and add water to keep it moist.
Remember to keep an eye out for unwanted pests and diseases. Within a month or so, your heap of kitchen scraps and other materials will have morphed into nutrient-rich healthy soil.
History of the Compost Heap Method
The composting heap method was known to have been used by early Greeks, Romans and even has a few citing in the bible.
It has been known to have been used in gardens as early as 1905 in the time of Sir Albert Howard, who was the father of the organic method.
He layered materials together in a sandwich fashion and turned it around to decompose.
Rudolph Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, was the one responsible for the principles of biodynamic agriculture in 1924. He emphasized the use of composting to farmers and gardeners.
Rudolph thought to inoculate this method of composting with beneficial organisms to get the best results.
The materials were piled in layers and turned from time to time. The result was a very fertile nutrient-rich fertilizer.
How to Use the Compost Heap?
After adding the organic materials in a heap, turning them over from time to time, and adding moisture, the compost should decompose.
The composting heap method morphs materials into nutrient-rich soil; this can then be used in the garden or farm. You will know your compost is ready when it is dark brown and almost black.
The texture should be spongy.You could then spread it over your garden to improve the soil quality and help suppress weeds and retain moisture.
The plants growing this kind of fertilizer tend to be healthy and of high yields.
Maintenance the Compost Heap
Always make sure that whatever material you are adding to your compost is the right organic materials. Some materials do not decompose or cause harm to the compost heap, such as aluminum and plastic.
Only add green and brown matter to the heap and check to ensure that they are evenly balanced. You do not want it to be too dry or wet.
Aeration is very important to get the best results from your compost heap. Make sure to turn your heap over from time to time.
Use a shovel to turn and mix the waste and cuttings. This will make the compost decompose and get ready faster.
Introducing worms to your compost can go a long way to making your compost be of high quality. They love the moisture and enjoy eating waste materials to convert it to liquid feed.
You can find them in shops, so get some and let nature boost the quality of your compost heap.
Problems That Can Occur and How to Fix Them
To get the best results from your compost heap is not easy. Most gardeners and farmers sometimes run into a few problems. Here are some of them and how to fix them:
Excessive moisture can be a problem at times. It also attracts flies and causes odor.
This problem is brought about by using too much fresh materials such as fruit and vegetable peelings in your compost.
Since they have high water content, they can be compact and exclude air in the heap.
To curb this problem, dig the hole out, then turn the ingredients to allow free circulation of air and balance out the green with the brown.
It would help if you also improved the drainage.
Too much acidity is another problem you might face in your compost heap. Acidic ingredients can significantly cause an imbalance in the ph.
Too many wet ingredients can also cause increased acidity. You can prevent this by adding wood ash or ‘browns’ if the compost heap is wet.
Using the Compost Heap
When the entire process is done, and you have your compost, you can sieve it and store it in plastic bags for storage.
Part-rotten or lumps can be reused in another compost heap to transfer important microorganisms to the next batch.
Divide the compost into sieved garden soil and vermiculite to promote drainage. If you are looking to use it in containers or pots, add equal amounts of sharp sand and compost.
Compost increases the quality of the soil. We recommend applying it to the borders and beds of your garden.
You could also fork it into the soil surface as you would with mulch. The compost contains nutrient-rich organic matter to improve your soil structure and nutrient content.
Benefits of the Compost Heap Method
The compost heap method is a very resourceful method of composting. The following are some of the benefits that come with the compost heap method.
It helps to enrich the soil. When organic matter is broken down and morphed into soil, the results enrich the soil and increase its quality.
When the compost is made correctly, it also helps to retain moisture and suppresses pests and plant diseases.
Making a compost heap encourages the production of beneficial bacteria that help break down organic matter and create humus.
Humus is a nutrient-rich material that promotes the growth of healthy plants and high-quality yields from produce.
Compost heaps also help save the environment. Instead of throwing away your leftovers and organic wastes where they would cause methane emissions from landfills, you could reuse them.
Reusing them not only helps to create compost for nutrient-rich healthy fertilizer but also helps lower carbon footprint.
By putting the right stuff in it. These include organic things such as fruit and vegetable peelings, grass cuttings, and tea bags because they break down much faster. They also provide nitrogen and moisture. It is also important to remember the browns, which include cardboard, newspapers, and sawdust.
You are free to put it anywhere you want. However, we recommend putting it in the sun. This is because it will increase the decomposition process. An increase in temperature makes the fungi and bacteria work faster. In addition to that, your compost pile will also dry much faster.
If you want your compost heap to decompose faster, you should turn the pile over frequently. This will allow for the free circulation of air. However, you should not turn it so many times because you will disrupt the formation of fungi. At least turn it over once every 2 weeks and remember to add water.
There will be less circulation of air, which means insufficient oxygen hence slowing the composting process. It would help if you strived to turn it over periodically to allow oxygen into the pile. However, nothing bad will happen if you don’t turn it; the composting process will just take much longer.
We would recommend having soil at the bottom of your heap. If there are concrete slabs or tarmac, put some layers of paper or twigs underneath to allow worms, maggots, and other creatures to colonize your compost heap.
The composting heap method is a very resourceful method of not only reducing wastage and environmental pollution but also producing great fertilizer.
If you are looking to get good quality and nutrient-rich healthy soil in your garden, you should try it.
The requirements are minimal; all you need is some space, a place where you will be dumping your organic materials, a shovel to keep turning them over, and some water.
As long as you keep the ingredients balanced and well-aerated in your compost, you will get good results. Plants growing from such rich fertilizer will produce high-quality yields.