Compost is rich in organic nutrients. Buying this mixture from the shops somewhat expensive. You can make compost at home by using freely available garden leaves and grass and other wastages. It is a more economic and budget-friendly method. Moreover, it is better than you can buy in shops.
You can use this homemade compost mix for indoor plants as well as your outdoor plants. This is one of the best soil amendments. This process is not something that can be done quickly. This process takes a while. You can easily prepare a compost recipe using your own garden resources. When using leaves, it takes some time to breakdown. That is the only time-consuming thing in this method.
Every plant must receive a good amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to grow strongly. Besides, plants require calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and in small amounts for sustainable growth. Hence, your compost mixture should consist of all of these minerals. This step-by-step 101 homemade fertilizer guide will help to grow your plants healthy and strong. It does not use any chemicals, so you can grow your plants organically without any toxic.
How to make compost at home.
Home Compost Ingredients.
In compost, it has four basic things. Carbon, Nitrogen, water, and air. We can use different ingredients for this. Primarily we have to maintain a high level of carbon and nitrogen ratio. If it has nitrogen and carbon deficiencies, it is not the best organic fertilizer.
Grass clippings and dead leaves: The grass clipping is rich in nitrogen and dead leaves are rich in carbon. These two things can easily find in large quantity, so it has the main ingredients for our compost pile. Browns leaves give high carbon and greens leave gives high Nitrogen. If you can mulch leaves, it improves the decomposing process.
Vegetable scraps: Kitchens’ vegetable scraps are an excellent source for improving the nitrogen organically. However, never use dairy and meat waste for this, it will mess up everything and attract rodents and flies. However, if you use a compost bin or compost tumbler with a proper seal lid, this will not be a big issue. Lemon and Citrus peels are rich in potassium, phosphorus. While you are composting with worms, these acidic materials negatively affect the worms’ growth.
Onion, Garlic Peels: Onion skins/peels are rich in potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Copper, and vitamin E. Moreover, use shallots, garlic peels. They are also rich in nutrients.
Tea and Coffee Grounds: This is a good ingredient in organic fertilizer. Apart from that, you can use tea grounds or coffee grounds too. These things will speed up the decomposing process also rich in nitrogen.
Cardboard and Papers: This is another good source of good carbon and nitrogen for your homemade compost fertilizer. If you can add cardboard waste like toilet paper rolls, egg cartons it will definitely enhance nutrient levels. These cardboard cartoons also provide aeration. Make sure that, you have broken them into small pieces. If you can find a leaf mulcher tool, you can use it. It makes the decomposing process quicker. Besides, it provides good moisture to the composting process.
|High Carbon||High Nitrogen|
|Fruit waste||Food waste|
|Papers and cardboards||Vegetable scraps|
|Ash and woods||Garden waste|
Adding animal feces improves the nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (NPK) level. Chicken manure has a higher level of NPK mixture than cattle manure. After adding it to the compost pile, you have to add water to compose it. This is a high nitrogen organic fertilizer.
Adding raw chicken manure bad for the plants and trees. Since it is rich in high nitrogen levels, it can burn your plants’ roots system. Hence, you have to properly compost it. Adding around 25% to 30% of manure to the compost pile is the perfect ratio. It makes everything balance.
If you use raw chicken bedding for the compost bin, you have to regularly water it and remix the heap every week. Normally it takes around six to eight months on average. When adding water to the chicken bedding, it makes a very bad ammonia odor. If you do not like it, better go with processed manure or cattle/horse manure. These things will make decomposing simple. The best option is separately made chicken manure and later mix it with the organic compost pile. When you are using a compost bin or tumbler never use a lot of raw chicken manure, it will over-heated the bin and can cause an explosion (due to the high nitrogen level it generate ammonia).
Other minor ingredients that rich in micronutrients.
1). Powdered eggshells will give tremendous calcium to your houseplants. You can add a few grams of powder. Calcium helps healthy growth. In addition to that, it has a small amount of magnesium, nitrogen, and other microelements such as born, copper, iron, zinc.
Collect over 20 eggshells and wash them thoroughly to kills any bacteria. Then blend them until you receive powder. You can use a blender for this. Do not use large pieces of eggshells because it takes time to breakdown.
If your tomato has blossom end rot, this is an eggshell powder is a perfect organic solution. So adding a few grams will definitely improve your potting mixture nutrient.
2). Banana peels are another organic nutrient for plants. It is rich in phosphorus and potassium. Phosphorus critical for grow a strong root system and shoot growth. Potassium helps resistance to pest and disease and grow fruits and flowering. Moreover, potassium helps the regulation of water in plants. Banana peels have manganese, which helps the photosynthesis of the plants.
You have to collect 20-25 banana peels. You can collect them in a zip lock bag until you can collect enough peels. Alternatively, you can use a kitchen compost bin to collect these materials.
Dehydrate Process: Once you collected enough peels, cut them into 1 or 2 inches strips. If you can cut them into the smallest pieces, it will speed the dehydrating process. Then dry out in direct sunlight over 10 hours. When the banana peels dry, it turns into a black color. When the banana peels are bent, the sound of them breaking should come out well. Alternatively, you can use an oven with 100 to 120 Fahrenheit, a few minutes, but never let them burn. If it burned, it will destroy the nutrient.
Make the banana peels powder: After you dry them, grind them into a fine powder. If you make them into the smallest pieces, it will quickly decompose. You can use a grinder or mortar and pestle set.
Best Compost Ingredients Ratio.
The best compost ingredient ratio is two-part of grass clipping (with or without vegetable scraps) and one part of the dead leaves. That ratio maintenance carbon and nitrogen ratio. IF there are any nutrient deficiencies, it is not good. The best organic compost ingredients ratio is 2:1. When adding Tea or coffee grounds eggshell and banana peels we cannot use in large quantities. Thus, you can ignore that small ingredients portion.
Adding Excess nitrogen materials will generate ammonia and heat the mixture. You can easily prevent it by maintaining a balance organic material ratio. On the other hand, ammonia help to breakdown the leaves and food materials on the home compost mix.
How to add eggshell and banana powder to compost mix.
Once you make a home compost mix, you can add eggshell powder and banana peels powder. These powders add minor important nutrients to your houseplants. For every 5KG of compost soil, add a minimum of 50g of eggshell powder and banana peels powder separately.
How to start compost home.
You can start a DIY compost pile in several ways. This composting 101 tutorial will cover all things. Depending on your garden space you can use,
- Compost Pile in the backyard.
- Compost Bin.
- Compost Tumbler.
- Bokashi Bucket.
Make compost pile in the backyard.
Unlike the apartment compost methods, this method we have plenty of open space. Therefore we can use worms to increase nutrients levels. These tiny animals generate worm casting. They are rich in hums and micronutrients like calcium, sulfur, and magnesium. Backyard pile is the cheapest method. Before starting the heap, you have to collect all the organic materials at the right portion.
Bottom of the pile lay cardboard or newspaper. Which provide good moisture to earthworms and red worms, and also other microorganisms to reproduce. Top of the papers players add foods and kitchen scraps. Then you can add a layer of grass clippings and leaves or mulch leaves and layers.
Once you added all the materials, add enough water until water starts to come out of the side of the pile. Water makes all the material decompose quicker. It is one of the important steps to make compost. Keep adding water once a week to speed up the process. Using the right amount of water important.
Finally, cover the heap using black plastic polyethylene to prevent direct sunlight. Alternatively, you can cover the compost heap using a thick cardboard layer. When the pile exposes to direct sunlight it will kill the microorganisms and slow down the process.
When you are adding kitchen waste like food, vegetable, and fruit scraps to your pile, attract flies, rodents. Therefore, you have to pay attention to that. However, you can easily compost tea and coffee grounds in this heap.
Since this method uses aerobic we have to provide good oxygen, so every week remix the compost heap. After two or three weeks, your mixture will heat up. After 3 months, everything will decompose and its temperature will reduce. Sometimes you can find worms in your heap. Now you can find fully decompose and turn into black.
This is another good outdoor composting method. In this method, we called lazy composting. Because we are not going to turn the organic materials in every week. Due to that reason, it takes few months.
The bottom of the bin adds shredded cardboard or papers. It will retain good moisture and increase the microorganisms’ activities. Then add foods, vegetables, and other kitchen waste. Since this bin is a closed system, it does not attract flies, rodents, so you can use kitchen waste except dairy, meat, and fish scraps, which makes a bad smell.
Adding earthworm or redworm can speed up the process and make it more organic compost. Do not expose the bin to direct sunlight or high temperature; it can kill microorganisms and other worms, which is essential to decompose process. There are specific worm compost bins on market. You can also use such equipment. Putting more red wiggler can speed up the process than other worms.
Tumbler is a fully sealed rotatable container, but it has an air intake valve. It is better than the ordinary compost bin. Compost tumblers use aeration; therefore can decompose organic materials faster than the traditional bin method. You can expect rich fertile compost in around 4-6 weeks. This type of equipment is the most suitable for indoor composters.
Every five days, you have to turn the tumbler to provide more aeration (oxygen) to the materials. You can add worms to the tumbler if you provide food and kitchen waste. This is a closed system (with a small air intake valve), so not able to access rodents and flies. Exposure of the compost tumbler to direct sunlight or high temperature can kill worms and other small microorganisms that are essential for decomposing.
This is useful if you are living in a limited space like an apartment or condominium property, which does not have a backyard. In this home compost method, you cannot expect fully decomposed organic matter. That is the main drawback. This is an anaerobic process, which means it uses air sealed closed system. Therefore, the Bokashi bucket has no odor and does not attract flies.
As a byproduct, it generates Bokashi compost tea every couple of days. This liquid is rich in nitrogen and other essential nutrients for plant growth. Add 1 tablespoon of Bokashi tea to 1 gallon/3.7 liter of water and mix well. Afterward, add it directly to the soil just like you water houseplants. This is a good homemade fertilizer liquid.
Few common Questions and Answers.
How to make compost break down faster?
When composting at home, you can speed up the process naturally. If we can increase the bacteria and fungus activities, we can easily accelerate organic matter breakdown. There is numerous method we can enhance microorganisms population.
- Adding Yeast and beer to pile – This will increase the microorganisms’ population.
- Provide good ventilation – Providing good oxygen will enhance the bacteria and fungus activities.
- Adding worms to the compost mix (earthworms and red worms). Accelerate decomposing by eating organic materials. For 1 square foot add ½ pound of worms.
How to make compost with worms?
One of the main advantages of outdoor composting is we can use the worm to speed up the process. When using worm composting add earthworms or red worms to your compost bin or compost pile. These tiny animals can increase the decomposition. When you are starting a compost heap or bin, add 1/2 lb. worms per square foot. Depending on the heap size, you have to add them. Then these small animals eat raw foods, vegetable, and fruit scraps, etc. organic matters and produce vermicomposting. You can read more about how to compost with earthworms and red wiggler.
When adding worms, you have to maintain a suitable temperature for better reproduction. These tiny animals like to live at room temperature. Do not use a lot of citrus peels; these tiny insects cannot live with that kind of acidic stuff. When providing a comfortable environment for these animals increase the population and enhance the worm composting process.
The final stage pH level is neutral, though the initial stage of the more acidic because most of the kitchen waste have 5.0 and 7.0pH level.
When adding worms to compost mix.
When the pile started the decomposing process, it heats up gradually and then reduces. These compost worms cannot live over 95 degrees temperature. Hence, you cannot put worms in a hot compost. Wait for a couple of days until its temperature reduces and then add worms. The optimum temperature for introducing worms to compost is 80F (20C).
Why does my compost smell like ammonia?
When the compost mix has a high level of nitrogen, it generates ammonia. It is not a good sign. Excess nitrogen can harm plant roots and leaves. This happen when the composter added more nitrogen-rich materials like chicken manure.
You can easily correct the ammonia problem by turning the pile and let good ventilation to remove the excess ammonia. You have to follow it every couple of days. However, it will not enough to balance the nitrogen to carbon ratio. To make nutrient level balance add more brown materials. It can easily balance the nitrogen and carbon ratio of your home compost.
When should I turn my compost pile hot?
The best time to turn hot compost piles is when it starts to drop in temperature. Therefore, you have to regularly check the temperature. When the heat up the pile, it will destroy weeds and harmful bacteria and fungus. Turning the heap enhances the aeration and increases the microbial activities, which are essential for decomposing. Providing more oxygen will accelerate organic material breakdown.
How do you reduce moisture in compost?
Adding water to the heap will increase the organic material breakdown process; though excess moisture on the heap not good. We can easily reduce compost moisture by adding more carbon-rich materials to the heap. These materials can absorb excess soggy/wet.
- Regularly turning the compost heap provides good ventilation and evaporate the excess moisture. It is important when you are using more kitchen scraps and food waste.
- Introducing more dry carbon materials like cardboard, newspapers, leaves, wood ash, chopped straw, and sawdust absorb excess moisture.
Can I put yeast in my compost?
Yes, you can. Yeast can increase the composting process easily. These single-cell microorganisms can accelerate the organic matter breakdown process. Mix yeast with warm pure water (110°F – 115°F (43 – 16 °c)) and wait until the mixture cools down. Then pour the mixture into every part of the compost pile or bin. It will naturally enhance the friendly fungus and bacteria activities. After added yeast, every 3 to 4 days turn the pile to properly mix everything.
Can you compost Beer and Wine?
Yes, it is beneficial to breakdown the carbon-rich material quickly. Beer and wine contain yeast. You can directly add alcohol to the compost bin or pile. Adding excessive alcohol will change the nitrogen and carbon ratio, which is not good.