What is compost and composting?

Composting is a common, environmentally friendly practice used primarily in the garden. Some prefer to buy compost, others make their own. The same goes for composters, there is something for everyone.

What is compost?

Compost is, in simplest terms an organic fertilizer that is used to fertilize and aerate the soil. Compost is made primarily from plant waste and enriches the soil with humus and various nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.

Using compost has a positive impact on the environment positive impact on the environment and is definitely a better choice compared to burning grass – more in our article on the subject. In addition, it helps get rid of food leftovers from the house, among other things.

The composter is usually placed in the garden, but this is not the only option available – you can also keep a composter on the balcony, although then it requires a slightly different procedure.

It’s hard to say exactly how long it takes to compost, a lot depends on the effort you put into your compost pile and the ingredients that go into it. There are at least a few ways to tell if the compost is ready, including a dark color, an earthy smell, and a uniform, crumbly texture. You won’t find earthworms in it either.

Organic waste composting

Composting is one very good practice to support the planet, just like planting trees or separating trash. Especially since composting is actually much simpler than it may seem. By creating your own compost pile, you reduce the amount of waste that is taken to the landfill from your trash, and you can use the resulting compost for your own purposes, such as in your garden.

What does compost need?

Making compost takes time and some work needs to be put into it. First of all, from time to time you need to turn it over with a fork and add new ingredients. If it is too dry, think about watering it regularly but moderately – it should be moist, but not wet. Proper temperature is needed for decomposition, so if you notice that your compost is heating up, that’s a good sign.

If your compost pile is to be in the garden, it is important that the substrate is in contact with the soil. This will allow earthworms, ants and decomposition-friendly bacteria to get into the compost. If possible, the composter should stand in an airy, but still sheltered from the sun.

compostingThe layers of compost should be mixed. This can be achieved, among other things, by creating alternating layers of nitrogen and carbon. Don’t whip them too hard either, as this can cut off the lower layers from oxygen. It’s also a good idea to mix dry materials with moist ones, and green materials with woody ones. Remember that the layers should not be too thick.

From time to time, check how the situation is, whether nothing is rotting, the smell has not become unpleasant, and the moisture level is appropriate. Also shuffle the leftovers from time to time to ensure the whole thing is properly ventilated. Before working with compost, it’s also sometimes a good idea to lightly wet it if it seems dry.

Four basic ingredients that compost needs:

  • water,
  • oxygen,
  • nitrogen,
  • carbon.

These can be supplied in various ways, such as water by providing moisture to the compost, oxygen by turning it over regularly, and nitrogen and carbon by adding the right ingredients.

Make your own composter

It’s true that you can buy a composter, but why not make your own? Two options are possible:a home composterand a backyard composter.

There are many materials you can use that do not require additional costs. Depending on this choice, the process of making compost may change slightly, such as anaerobic composting may occur.

An interesting option we recommend is a composter made of pallets or boards, although of course, there are many more options, such as you can use an old box or barrel, just always make sure that your composter has access to the soil from underneath.

composting1. You need four pallets, measure them. Start by setting the boundaries of the compost pile, it should be square or rectangular in shape. In the selected place dig a hole, at a maximum of 40 cm – it will facilitate access to the organisms living in the soil and increase the capacity of the composter.

2. The three pallets should be connected to each other, such as with stakes or nails. In this task a drill will help us. It is also recommended to take care of the pallets, such as bending protruding nails, waterproofing them or painting them with the appropriate paint. Oiling is also a good option. Your composter must be able to handle the moisture.

3. The fourth pallet should be hinged so that the composter can be opened freely. Access to the composter can also be facilitated in other ways, it is good if the fourth pallet forms a kind of door.

4. Don’t forget that a backyard composter should not have a permanent roof or bottom. It must have access to both air and soil. If you decide on a roof, bet on something you can lift whenever needed. Make it airtight, too. The roof will protect the compost from rain, snow and help it maintain the right temperature.

5. Branches and grass can be placed on the bottom – this is a good start.

6. After the compost is collected, it is worth taking care of the pallets. You can waterproof them once again and check their condition. Another way to make them durable is to put a punched foil inside.

What is anaerobic composting?

A lesser-known composting method is Anaerobic Composting. Composting (Anaerobic Composting). It is more time-consuming and more unpredictable than Aerobic Composting and as you can easily guess, the results are due to organisms that do not need oxygen to survive. Because of this, the temperature of the compost will be lower and the smell unpleasant.

The advantage of this method is that it requires less attention from the owner. You don’t have to turn it over every day, and it will take up less space. The process unfortunately produces methane, making it less beneficial to the environment than composting with oxygen. Such compost can also attract insects.

Sometimes there is also a need for the finished compost created by the anaerobic process to undergo several treatments that in some sense “fix” it. For example, it can be dried and decomposed to enrich it with oxygen, carbon-rich ingredients can be added, and it can be repositioned so that it has access to oxygen. Another option is also to put a layer of sticks on the very bottom, so that the whole thing should not stay wet. You can also add some soil or finished compost.

No doubt this method is easier and needs less attention, but it also has its drawbacks. It is worth considering both options before making a decision.

Errors in composting

If you want to make your own compost, you need to keep in mind that throwing inappropriate products into the composter can even spoil the whole job, significantly reduce the quality of the compost, prolong the composting process and change its smell.

Here are examples of products that should not be thrown into the compost:

  • animal feces, diapers, cigarettes,
  • diseased and poisonous plants,
  • walnuts, their roots and leaves,
  • Leftover meat and fish, dairy products, fat, whole eggs,
  • citrus peels, acidic food, parts of onions and garlic,
  • bread, baked goods and rice,
  • colored and coated paper, printed paper,
  • fruit stickers,
  • sawdust and large branches,
  • plastic, cellophane, glass, chemicals,
  • cosmetic products.

If you’re not sure if you can put something in the composter, and you have no way of getting the information, it’s better to give up than to risk damaging or hindering yourself all together.

Risks posed by composting

When creating a composter, it’s good to keep your own safety in mind. When handling compost, it is a good idea to take care toprotect your hands and face, even if the risk of infection may seem small The elderly and immunocompromised people in particular are at risk.

One of the main threats is legionellosis, in addition to numerous bacterial and fungal infections. Other of the risks are tetanus, histoplasmosis or anthracosis, and that’s not all.

If you want to guard against these problems, a protective mask and gloves can be a good solution.

Composting of corpses – a curiosity

This is definitely one of the more interesting phrases you’ll come across when searching for information about composting. It may be a rather abstract thought for many people, but in some U.S. states, composting remains is one of the legal forms of burial – in addition, it is more environmentally friendly than cremation or coffin burial.


  • Burial in a cemetery is definitely not an eco-friendly option. Cemeteries can be extensive and costly, and can pollute the land on which they are located. The production of the tombstone itself also requires a lot of resources and funds.
  • Cremation of the body involves emissions into the atmosphere, among other things. carbon dioxide.
  • A biodegradable urn for ashes is a more environmentally friendly option, but the process by which the body is incinerated continues to carry many adverse factors.

Composting the body is by far the most beneficial form of burial for the planet. The entire process can take up to 10 weeks, the decomposition of the body occurs much faster.

Of course, body composting is controversial because of the cultural, often very deep respect for the dead. In time, however, perhaps mankind will begin to convert to this form of burial, after all, it allows in a sense to create life after death, such as when a tree grows from the body of the deceased.


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