HOW DOES COMPOSTING WORK?
What is Composting?
The simplest definition of composting is "the aerobic breakdown of organic matter by a variety of microbes and even larger organisms to produce a nutrient-rich fertilizer also known as black gold."
How does composting work? We are sure many of you have asked this question time and again, sometimes even when you are doing the activity. How does all this seemingly wasted waste become such a nutrient-rich humus that works wonders for plant growth?
Well, it is not as complicated a process as you might think and it is also a completely natural process (decomposition) – something that would happen without our help. But what we do in the composting process is speed up so that we can get results faster.
Ready to delve a little deeper into the world of composting? Don't be afraid to get your hands a little dirty!
If we look in detail, it can be divided into two primary steps:
- Aerobic Composting Process:
Aerobic bacteria initiate the process. Undoubtedly the most important step in composting is the beginning. This is done by micro-organisms that start decaying organic matter. This is done by oxidizing or burning organic materials with the help of oxygen to produce carbon, which is their source of energy.
This process heats the compost heap while producing plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and magnesium.
However, it is paramount to keep oxygen levels above 5 percent or these bacteria will become dormant, and all their good work will be undone by anaerobic bacteria that produce toxins.
- Microorganisms in Manure:
If the above process can be called chemical decomposition by bacteria, then it can be called physical decay.
Large decomposers like spiders, centipedes, millipedes, snails, ants, beetles, etc., participate in composting by grinding, chopping, chewing and mixing the remains of rotten material. Read about popular composting techniques .
Their secretions further bind the compost material, give it texture and transport it in its finished form. They add that last layer of nutrients which are very essential for the growth and development of plants.
Microorganisms and macrobes work together in this complex process, while symbiotically assisting each other and turning organic waste material into highly nutritious material for your garden. Learn about the process of making vermi compost .
Now that you have an idea of what goes into composting, here are some tips to make the process easier:
- Remember to balance nitrogen-rich greens with carbon-rich sawdust like leaves, wood chips, paper, etc.
- Keep turning, digging and layering at regular intervals to ensure that enough oxygen is always present. Otherwise, your mixture will start to smell for the anaerobic bacteria to work.
- Avoid adding meat, bones or fatty foods to the mix, as they can be difficult to break down.
- Finally, give the process a few months before you start using the compost as a fertilizer. Learn how to make your own compost .
Now you can produce the best quality compost right in your backyard. Your home garden will soon be better than you imagined! Buy soil and compost online .