Composting is a cyclical technique that involves the breakdown and fermentation of various vegetable components, such as vegetable wastes, in the vegetable garden. Even branches and fallen leaves may be returned to the soil with correct composting processes. Compost generated from leftover food scraps may not boost plant growth as quickly as commercial fertilizers do. It is best used as a means of enhancing soil, gradually making it more fertile over time. Composting should not be thought of as a way to dispose of kitchen trash; rather, it should be thought of as a way to nurture soil microorganisms.
1. Make good use of leftover leaves and kitchen waste to make compost
To facilitate fermentation and decomposition, chop up the vegetable stalks, stems, and other materials into small pieces, then drain and add them to the compost. Even fish bones can be thoroughly decomposed if you have a corrugated paper compost bin at home. By adding tea leaves or herbs, you can keep compost from rotting and emitting an unpleasant odor. It is not necessary to compost eggshells or bird bones. They can be crushed first to aid decomposition and fermentation before being buried in the soil.
Furthermore, miso paste and soy sauce contain salt, which the soil’s microorganisms cannot tolerate, so do not compost leftover cooked food. It is also critical to develop the habit of never leaving any leftover food before using compost.
2. Indispensable carbon, nitrogen, microorganisms, water, and air
Composting requires organic materials containing carbon as well as spaces containing water and air. In this manner, carbon molecules, or sugars, are created in the soil, which may facilitate bacterial proliferation.
Via their roots, plants take up nitrogen from the soil and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Then, they create the proteins that make up their cells by fusing carbon and nitrogen.
Rhizobia and blue-green algae, for example, work in symbiosis with plant roots to fix nitrogen. Microorganisms in compost break down proteins into nitrogen, which plants receive through their roots.
Microorganisms must normally consume 5 grams of nitrogen for every 100 grams of carbon decomposed from organic matter. This means that the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio during the decomposition process is 20 to 1.
As a result, when the carbon content of the soil exceeds 20 times the nitrogen content, microorganisms consume it completely. If the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio is less than 19, some nitrogen will remain in the soil and will be inaccessible to microorganisms.
Changing the amount of water in the air can encourage aerobic bacteria to grow, break down the protein in compost, and release nitrogen and carbon into the soil, which can then be taken by plants through their roots if the soil has a high carbon content.
Compost can be created by converting organic matter into nitrogen that plants can absorb by knowing the properties of carbon and nitrogen, choosing composting materials, and managing the ratio of carbon to nitrogen in the soil.
3. Stir the compost moderately, and pay attention to the effect of temperature, humidity, and actinomycetes
If the material for composting has too much water, it is easy to cause the protein to ammoniate and smell bad. Still, if there is too little water, it will also affect the activity of microorganisms. If it does not release water when squeezed by hand, the moisture is considered appropriate, but if using corrugated paper boxes for composting, it is better to be slightly drier.
The bacteria that are active in composting are mainly aerobic, so it is necessary to regularly mix the compost to let air in and accelerate the decomposition rate. However, do not mix too frequently, otherwise it will stimulate the activity of aerobic bacteria and release nitrogen into the air or water. Therefore, moderation is key.
The temperature inside the compost should be between 20-40 degrees Celsius, which is the most suitable for bacterial activity. When it exceeds 65 degrees, all microorganisms stop functioning and gradually die.
Actinomycetes are white bacterial colonies produced in leaf litter or decaying fallen trees. In corrugated paper box composting or composting toilets, actinomycetes are an important species of bacteria that promote microbial decomposition and fermentation in compost. When starting to make compost, it is a good idea to look for actinomycetes in leaf litter and decaying fallen trees.
Post time: Aug-18-2022