How does composting work?
What is Composting?
The easiest definition of composting is “the aerobic breaking down of organic materials by a variety of microbes and even larger organisms to produce nutrient rich fertilizer that is also called Black Gold.”
How does composting work? We’re sure that many of you have asked this question time and again, sometimes even when you’re carrying out the activity. How do all these seemingly wasted leftovers become such nutrient-rich humus that works wonders for the growth of plants?
Well, it isn’t as complicated a process as you might think and it also is an entirely natural process (decomposition) – something that would take place even without our help. But what we do in the composting process is speed it up so we can get results faster.
Ready to delve a little deeper into the world of composting? Don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty!
If we go into detail then, it can be divided into two primary stages:
1. Aerobic Composting Process:
Aerobic Bacteria begins the process. Undoubtedly the most important step in composting is the beginning. It is carried out by microscopic organisms that start the decaying of the organic matter. This is done by oxidizing or burning up organic matter with the help of oxygen, to produce carbon, which is their source of energy.
This process heats up the compost pile while also producing plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and magnesium.
However, it is paramount for the oxygen levels to remain above 5 percent or these bacteria will become inactive, and all their good work will be undone by anaerobic bacteria that produce toxic substances.
2. Microorganisms in Compost:
If the above process can be called chemical decomposition carried out by the bacteria, then this one can be called physical decay.
Large decomposers like spiders, centipedes, millipedes, snails, ants, beetles, etc. take part in composting by grinding, biting, chewing and mixing the remnants of the decomposed material. Read about popular composting techniques.
Their secretions further bind the compost material, giving it texture and taking it to its finished form. They add that final layer of nutrients that are so essential for the growth and development of plants.
Microbes and Macrobes work together in this complicated process, while symbiotically assisting each other and turning organic waste matter into highly nutritious material for your garden. Learn about vermicomposting process.
Now that you have the know-how on what happens during composting, here are some tips to smoothen out the process:
- Remember to balance out the nitrogen-rich greens with the carbon-rich browns like leaves, wood chips, paper, etc.
- Keeping turning, digging and layering at regular intervals to ensure that enough oxygen is always present. Otherwise, your mix will begin to smell do to the work of anaerobic bacteria.
- Refrain from putting meat, bones or fatty foods into the mix, as they can be difficult to decompose.
- Finally, give the process a few months before you begin to use the compost as a fertilizer. Learn about how to make your own fertilizer.
You can now produce the very best quality of compost right in your backyard. Your home garden will soon grow better than you even imagined! Buy Soil & Manure online.