The Biggest Mistakes In Composting

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:29 pm

Not everything is allowed on the compost

On a compost heap, organic waste is broken down by earthworms, bacteria and fungi and converted into so-called humus. The compost is therefore not just a garbage heap, but a way of processing raw materials in a natural way. Therefore, only organic residues and waste belong on the pile. Stones, ashes or the contents of the vacuum cleaner bag have no place on the compost, these materials cannot be processed.

The Biggest Mistakes In Composting

If wilt diseases or rot appear in the root or stem area, these plant parts should not be disposed of in the compost. This is because the pathogens of these diseases often form resistant permanent spores. These can spread further when the compost is spread. Seed-bearing weeds and root weeds, such as couch grass and goutweed, also do not belong in the compost.

For most plant waste, however, composting is harmless. For example, no problems arise with plants that are infested with powdery mildew, leaf spot diseases or aphids.

The right location: Never too moist

Look for your compost heap, a wind-protected, half-shady place in the garden. The ground should be level and straight. In no case should the compost pile be located in a depression where rainwater can collect. Waterlogging will prevent air from circulating, the compost will begin to mold and will not work properly. Also, when choosing a location, make sure the compost is easy to reach and there is enough room around it to work.

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Good compost through variety

To get good compost, don’t dump the same waste in the same spot in the pile every time out of habit. Only when there is variety in the compost can the scraps decompose optimally. So mix coarse with fine and wet waste with dry. Some things take longer to turn over, such as eggshells and whole weeds. Throw them in the middle of the compost, where it is warm and the rate of decomposition is at its highest.

Compost autumn leaves

The leaves shed from trees in the fall are usually low in nutrients. Therefore, mix the leaves with nitrogen-rich garden waste, such as lawn clippings or vegetable scraps. The easiest way to collect the leaves from the lawn in the fall is to use a lawn mower. Shred the leaves and mix them with the lawn clippings so they can decompose properly. Leaves from fruit trees, hornbeam or maple compost well. Leaves from birch, oak and walnut contain a lot of tannic acid, which slows down rotting. Therefore, only put the foliage of these trees in small quantities on the compost.

Build it yourself or buy it ready-made?

If you want to do it yourself, build a slatted composter with wood from the hardware store. One square meter is an ideal footprint for a larger garden. If you have less space and want to see quick results, you can buy a quick composter. However, these composts work best if you fill them completely in one fell swoop.

In both composters, conversion begins after only about three days. You can remove the humus from the quick composter after about ten weeks, in the open, home-made compost it takes ten to twelve months until everything has rotted.

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  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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