There is no other time like now that people are seeking ways to be more environmentally friendly and responsive, seeing that many things done in the past have posed a safety hazard to the environment.
Today people see reasons why they should be more conscious of how they treat the environment, and that is why we have electric cars, recycling stations and compost bins. Yes, indeed, compost bin, they all fall in the same category.
With only a few exceptions, most organic matter around you can be composted to produce a nutrient-rich material for your plants. And if you want your composting process to go faster than usual, then here is a life hack for you: Grind Your Compost. But is it also proper to compost any material you find? Read till the end to get the answer.
Composting Beyond Gardening
Composting is not just a solution for gardening and farming; it’s also a solution that helps our planet. The goal of making compost aside from adding nutrients to our garden and helping our vegetables thrive is aimed at achieving zero waste and reduce the use of inorganic fertilizers that negatively impact our ecosystem.
What Really Is Compost?
Compost is a mixture of ingredients prepared by decomposing plants and food waste and recycling organic matter to fertilize and improve the soil.
The beauty of compost is that the mixture that emerges after the whole process is rich in nutrients and worms and fungi mycelium that is beneficial to the soil and plants.
How Useful Are Compost
Compost is not just one of those gardening practices that add very little value, but the product is useful to the plants, man, and environment. Making and using a Compost is useful in these ways:
- Compost enriches the soil’s nutrients content because compost is rich in mineral matter and the nutrients that our plants need to thrive.
- The texture of compost is such that it has a high capacity to hold water, and when mixed with the soil, it helps the soil retain its moisture content and not easily dry out. This means you can water a little less often when you use compost. (a little relief from watering is good for you).
- Compost is useful in suppressing disease and pest invasion in your garden because, with the nutrients released to your plants, they become healthier and strong and can withstand these diseases.
- Compost is like a blender that breaks down organic matter in you on your soil which helps them release the nutrient they have.
- Talk about zero waste, and composting is there to the rescue. All those vegetable scraps in your trash bin can be turned into nutrients for your garden. Hence compost is a way of recycling household and garden wastes.
- When organic matters are left in landfills, they generate greenhouse gases like methane, which destroy our planet’s ozone layer. But when these organic matters are composted, they rather produce a nutrient-rich material that is useful.
Points To Consider Before You Start Making a Compost
Understanding the different factors that interplay to yield this compost will help you get high-quality compost at the least possible time. Some of these points are:
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1. Nutrient Balance
the feedstock that makes up what is called compost material is generally divided into two categories based on the product they yield when they are turned into compost, and they are:
2. Green Compost Material
these are compost materials that, when composted, yield nitrogen which plants and the useful microbes in the soil need for growth. Green compost materials include good scraps, manure, grass clippings and the likes.
3. Brown Compost Materials
These are compost materials that are high in carbon, and so when they are turned into compost, they yield carbon which is used by plants and the microorganisms in the soil as an energy source. Examples of carbon-rich compost materials include branches of trees, wood chips and dried leaves.
There is a delicate balance between these two materials for high-quality compost to be attained. For green and brown materials in the compost, a ratio of 1:2, respectively, will yield premium compost.
4. Particle Size of the Compost Materials
Grinding compost stems from the fact that small compost materials take less time to compost because they have more surface areas for the organisms that decompose compost materials to work on.
5. Moisture Content
Water is an important element in every activity in gardening. The plant needs it for transporting nutrients from the soil to the plants’ roots and then to all the other parts of the plant.
Microorganisms need it not only for decomposing organic matter but for all their general body metabolism. That is why we water our gardens frequently. When adequate water content is added to the compost pile, your compost will come out just fine.
6. Flow of Oxygen
Oxygen, just like water, is important for all life activities both within the soil and in the compost pile. Adequate aeration can be achieved by turning the compost heap from time to time.
When the right amount of oxygen is added, it can decrease the amount of time it will take compost yield. We must state that turning the pile too much can introduce too much oxygen that can dry out the compost pile and slow the process.
For microbes in the compost heap to function optimally, they require the right temperature. If the moisture content and flow of oxygen is controlled, then the right temperature can be maintained.
Should I Grind My Compost?
The smaller the particle size of the materials to be composted, the faster it will take the compost to form. Grinding compost is a way of speeding up the process because when these materials are ground, they increase the surface area on which microorganisms can act.
The same phenomenon applies to why clothes that are dried in a line dry faster than when they are clumped together. The spreading of the wet clothes on a line increase the surface that the sun can dry at a time.
Grinding the compost makes the compost yield faster and produces a more homogeneous mixture with improved pile insulation. It also helps to increase the moisture content of the soil it is added to.
Can I Compost Any Material I Find?
Most organic matter that we find around are biodegradable and can be put into your compost pile; there are a few of them that might not be too good for your compost, and they are:
- Meat and dairy products: although these materials are biodegradable, the snag with adding them to your compost pile is that they attract pests to the pile, and these pests might be carriers of plants and even human diseases. If, however, they mistakenly get into the pile, then push them to the bottom of your compost bin where these pests like rodents cannot get at them.
- Baked food: these foods are not bad in themselves; it’s just that they have a way of bringing wild animals like squirrels and racoons to the pile because some of these wild animals have ‘sweet tooth’. So, if you don’t want your compost pile to be a dining hall for wild animals, keep your compost bin clear of baked foods.
- Treated sawdust: the idea behind using compost in our garden is to grow our vegetables with clean organic fertilizers that are chemical-free. Using sawdust from treated woods defeats this aim. So, steer clear of treated wood materials.
- Highly acidic foods: Foods that have high acid content like lime and pickled foods that have high salt content should be added with caution in your compost pile because they can destroy the beneficial organisms on the soil that help in decomposing organic matter.
- Greasy and oily foods: Too much oil or grease can destroy that delicate balance between the different soil components, which will negatively impact your plant. Need I say again that oily foods are attractive to wild animals too.
- Weeds: Weeding for many gardeners is the main struggle of gardening. When you add weeds to your compost pile, even though they decompose, their spores (seeds) remain dormant in the compost pile, and once this compost is applied to the soil, they come alive and create a serious weed problem for you. Except you enjoy the stress of weeding, then weeds should not be found on your compost pile.
How Do You Grind Compost?
Many people improvise when they want you to grind their compost, and they use woodchippers. While these woodchippers can get the job done, they are not as efficient as actual compost grinders.
There are a lot of compost grinders that come in different sizes and brands and are very efficient. Easy to use, and they produce odorless compost. Examples include mini compost bins, kitchen composters, barrel-line composters, super-smart compost bins, among others.
What Is the Best Tool to Turn Compost?
Many compost aerators are used in turning compost. Many people also improvise with rakes and shovels, but your best option is to use the right tool for the job; this ensures ease and efficiency.
There are different compost aerators, including plungers and others that are corkscrew, and they all come in different heights. Some of them are listed in the table below:
|Types of compost aerators||Design||Height in inches|
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How Do You Grind Food Scraps for Compost?
A food processor can be used to grind your compost. Food scraps like cucumber peeling, cabbages and lettuce can be collected and refrigerated until you are ready.
These food scraps can be cut into smaller to make them easy to be processed in the food processor.
Care must be taken that diary, meat and other food scraps that are not fit for composting are not be added to the food processor.
Can I Blend My Compost?
Yes, you can, but the compost materials you should blend should not damage the blender. You should blend only food scraps with your blender, and you ensure that you add adequate water that will give the final product the smoothie’s consistency.
It is okay to grind your compost, but you must ensure that you use the right compost grinder. Let me remind you to avoid composting baked food, dairy, and meat product because they can mess up your compost. Also, ensure that you aerate your compost pile with any of the assorted aerators in the market.
So go ahead and grind, blend and aerate your compost to get a great product that will have your r flourishing with sumptuous vegetables.
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Hope this article has helped you understand How Do You Grind Compost. You may also want to bookmark our report on Top 10 Profitable Backyard Farming in The U.S.
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