A Review of the Steps to Successful Composting
The hot composting method (also known as fast or active composting) is the most common as it
yields desired results relatively quickly. It is also the best method to take care of unwanted weeds as it will
destroy the seeds during the heat phase.
you have picked a level site for your composting bin, you will need a good base for the bottom of leaves and
high-quality soil. The leaves should be chopped or chipped so that no one piece is larger than two-three
inches (this is a good rule of thumb for all materials added to the bin).
your bin and base are in place you can start to add your green food (nitrogen-rich) and your brown food
(carbon-rich). The ratio that should be roughly followed is one part green for every two parts
the pile every other day for moisture control and temperature. During this time you need to rotate or turn
the pile to get good air flow inside the pile and to help with odors.
your pile is full or has finished the heat phase, let it cure. The length of curing will depend on your
intended use of the finished product. To eliminate any larger pieces of organic matter that did not break
down use a screen to sift them out. But if you follow the rule of not putting in anything that is larger than
three inches this should not happen.
compost humus can be ready to use in as little as 3-4 weeks with a hot composting method and maintenance to the
pile on a regular schedule. If you are going to use the cold (or inactive) method of composting, it can take
up to one year for usable compost to be ready.
Common Uses for
Now that you have put in the work, waited the required amount
of time and have your finished compost material – what are you going to do with it? There are more uses
than just laying it down on your flower beds. Some are practical everyday uses and others are more
You can make a tea with your finished compost; it is not for
drinking though. To make your compost tea, add your humus to a water-tight container and fill with
water. Let the tea “steep” anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. After it is done, put
the liquid compost through a fine screen to collect any debris. What you have made is a
liquid fertilizer that can be sprayed on plants or other garden
Compost can be used to help stop the spread of erosion.
It can be laid down thickly on the area that is eroding away or it can be mixed with water to make a thick
slurry and then sprayed on the area that is in danger.
Humus (finished compost) is used as a final layer over a
finished landfill to help new plants grow with little to no erosion. Finished compost can also assist
in revitalizing an endangered wetland. The nutrient rich composition can be used to create a new
wetland as well.
Of course there are the traditional uses too – in gardens,
planting beds, or other areas that plants or vegetation grows. If you are starting a new compost bin,
in place of a layer of topsoil for the base you can substitute an equal amount of compost material.
Farmers and cities use mature compost on a large scale; it helps the environment and reduces the amount of
garbage that ends up in a landfill.