Composting is the backbone of organic gardening and it’s really easy. We are becoming alchemist when we compost transmuting organic matter into the rich black life-giving soil, stewards of the land giving life back to the trees and plants as they give us life through their oxygen and fruits being conscious participants in the cycle of life.
There are a few different methods of composting but we are going to talk about the two main ones here. HOT composting and COLD composting.
Cold composting is the simplest of the two and requires putting organic matter in a pile and letting it break down, this method is the longer of the two taking about 3 to 6 months to breakdown it will also leach valuable nutrients into the atmosphere where the hot compost won’t, on the plus side it takes very little work. Now there are a few things we can do to speed this process up and get this bacterial and fungi party started! This is where we move onto HOT composting. In hot composting, we make a pile that is at least 1m x 1m and consists of layers. Layers of nitrogenous materials and layers of carbon materials or an easier way of remembering layers of green and layers of brown.
- Vegetable scraps
- Alive green grass
- Green leaves
- Carbon materials
- Dead brown leaves
- Dead grass
- Cardboard paper
We are putting down onto the ground each layer about 15cm thick followed by the opposite layer until we reach a 1m x 1m cube. We want each layer to be sufficiently wet also as we put it together, moisture is important as well as size to generate and maintain the heat we need to break it down quickly. Once made we leave the pile for 4 days and then we turn it, putting the outer edges of the pile now on the inside, we do this every 2 days now until it is all broken down by day 18. This flipping the pile is adding oxygen, another essential ingredient our bacteria and fungi need, basically creating a bacteria fungi party. We are putting all the ingredients in exactly the right ratio for the bacteria to eat and have sex thus generating heat and breaking down our organic matter into rich full beautiful life giving soil. This method is fast and effective, the heat kills weed seeds and pathogens and it captures all the nutrients from our raw materials.