Posted on August 21 2020
How does an onion peel or a rotten apple become soil again? The own compost has many advantages and therefore it is worthwhile to dispose the organic waste in an appropriate way.
Compost, which is so useful in the garden, is actually a decomposition product. When organic material is decomposed by the microorganisms in the soil under sufficient oxygen supply, minerals such as phosphates and nitrates are produced in addition to humus. What happens in nature all by itself gives us end products that we would otherwise have to buy in the form of less environmentally friendly artificial fertiliser.
As a hobby gardener, you can also compost yourself and produce at least some of the compost used in the garden. A further advantage: the content of the organic waste bin is significantly reduced. This is because garden and kitchen waste can be put into the compost.
Many advantages – especially with home-made compost
Composting produces hardly any CO2 – about as much as the composted plant components have absorbed during their natural life through photosynthesis. A far greater part of the CO2, however, is bound in the humus, which is also produced during composting. Compost is therefore not only CO2-neutral, but actually reduces the dangerous carbon.
The humus substances give the potting soil or garden soil new fertility and thus improve the overall soil quality. Furthermore, the soil does not run the risk of salinization when compost is used as a fertiliser, as is the case with mineral fertilisers. Not to mention the fact that one gets out of the chain of industrial production, transport and sale of artificial fertilizers, and thus saves further resources.
Those who do not want to or cannot produce compost themselves still have the option of buying it ready to use. However, one has hardly any control over the quality. Increasing microplastic content in compost is criticized by more and more experts. For the best results, the answer is: Shred it yourself.
Composting is not so difficult: what may be added to the compost – and what may not
Because nutrient-rich superfertiliser can be made easily by yourself. The composted materials determine the quality of the finished compost. Especially recommended are kitchen waste from fruit and vegetables, lawn cuttings or leftovers from vegetable harvesting. Less productive are leaves and branches from the garden, because it takes a while before they are really composted. They should therefore not be too voluminous in the mixture of ingredients.
The following can be composted:
- fruit and vegetable waste, fallen fruit
- waste from kitchen and garden
- coffee grounds and tea leaves, also with the filter (paper)
- cut flowers and potted plants
- small animal manure explicitly only from herbivores
- crushed eggshells
- ripped out weeds, but before they blossom
- foliage and grass, moss, needles of coniferous trees
What must not be put in the compost:
- meat scraps, fish waste, cooked food scraps, oil, fat
- fruit peels of tropical fruits
- diseased plants
- plastic, glass, metal
- the contents of the dust bag
- dog or cat faeces
- cigarette butts
The smaller the better
Regardless of which of the permissible materials go into the compost, it is always better if the substances are at most finger-length. Especially hard components should be crushed, and before adding them, make sure that everything that is not organic is removed. After layering, always mix the upper layers well, as this makes the work of the small soil creatures easier and speeds up the composting process.
How long does composting take?
During the warmer months, it can be quite fast – then the compost is ready after six, sometimes even after four months. In winter it takes longer, but if you start composting in October, you may not be able to use it until the beginning of summer. The ideal time to apply compost is late autumn, so it is better to start in spring.
It is easy to see that the compost is ready – you can mix the loose, downright fluffy substance well with your hands without anything sticking. And: a good, mature compost does not smell.
Better than the trash can – and good for the garden
Making your own compost is not that difficult, and if you have a garden or allotment garden, you can easily build a composting device yourself or buy one from a garden centre. Kitchen and garden waste is returned to nature, and expensive and harmful artificial fertilizers can be avoided. But even those who only garden on the balcony can use compost – pot and balcony plants and the plants in the raised bed also appreciate the superpower from nature.
Although we at NIKIN are primarily committed to fighting global deforestation, we also want to make our community aware of the possibility of sustainable behaviour in other areas of life. Working towards nature by composting is one such possibility.