Compost is any decayed organic matter which is used as fertilizer and is generated by decomposing the waste materials. As the compost is made up by the organic matter, most gardeners take it as an inexpensive alternative to chemical fertilizers. The compost is less harmful to the roots and plants. Moreover, the compost produces a soil conditioner which boosts soil health. Not only that, it eliminates wood preservatives, pesticides, and both chlorinated and non-chlorinated hydrocarbons in contaminated soils.
The main determining factors of the compost are carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and water. You can use the unwanted wastes like organic solid wastes, animal manure and bedding, human excreta, and sewage sludge to make compost. You can make the final compost product through Industrial Scale composting, Vermicomposting, Composting toilets, Black soldier fly larvae, Bokashi, etc. Compost is always beneficial for gardening use and to enhance the landscape. Thus, if you go through the proper procedure, you can get a nutrient-rich compost that eases your work, saves time and money, and many more.
Uses of Organic Compost
- Farmers use compost as one of the prominent additives to the soil. The compost provides nutrients to the land and makes it more fertile.
- You can use it alone or mix with garden soil, sand, vermiculite for the loam. Its richness in the capability to hold moisture and soluble minerals helps the plants to grow efficiently.
- Compost also acts as a medium to boost the growth level of the organic matter.
- It supports the overall fertility of the soil for the betterment of the plant’s growth.
- Compost plays a significant role to prevent any harm or damage to the ecosystem.
- Compost acts as a natural pesticide for the soil and prevents the contamination and harmful effects to the plants.
- It accelerates the nutrient cycling in the ground, which gradually benefits the growth of plants and roots.
- You can mix it with sand, clay and aged sawdust to create an enriched mix of for the raised-bed gardens.
- Compost is also essential in potting media (limited to 30 percent of the total mix). It is like the partial substitute for peat moss as it can almost reduce the need for supplemental chemical fertilizers.
- You can use compost in conjunction with conventional mulch products to keep the root zones conserve, cool, moisture, and act as a slow-release fertilizer.
- It can also replace the geomembrane weed barriers by using it in the garden.
- You can use compost before the seeding or sodding and work into the soil. It allows establishing new lawns, recreation fields, golf courses. It can also be used to top-dress and rake into the land.
- You can include compost as a planting media for constructed or artificial wetlands in which it acts as a cap for a landfill cell to encourage vegetation and reduce erosion.
- Compost also helps in holding the soil or sequester carbon dioxide.
Benefits of organic compost
- The most important factor of having compost in your garden or field is to care about the environment.
- It releases a high amount of greenhouse methane gas during the decomposing process. The decomposition improves the quality and fertility of the soil.
- It is harmless to the plants and animals that inhabit the landscape, which ensures that our environment is safe.
- The microbes present in the fertilizer can support on unleashing nutrients that are pre-existing in the soil. The plants will be able to consume the nutrients available in the ground and have their growth with the support.
- When you mix the compost with your garden soil, the larger particles of it allow water to drain better. Similarly, the organic material present in the compost acts like a sponge to consume just the right amount of water for plants and soil organisms.
- The compost feeds the soil organisms and makes the clay softer and comfortable for the roots to penetrate the soil.
- It plays a significant role to absorb odors and treat volatile organic compounds like explosives and heating fuels.
- It eradicates the wood preservatives, pesticides, and both chlorinated and non-chlorinated hydrocarbons from the soil.
- Compost suppresses the plant diseases and helps the soil to retain its moisture.
- It encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi. Bacteria and fungi break downs the organic matter to form humus, a nutrient-filled material that is advantageous for the soil and the plants growing in it.
HOW TO MAKE ORGANIC COMPOST
- First of all, you need some food wastes like fruits and vegetable scraps, leaves, eggshells, garden weeds, garden plants and grass, hay or straw, pine needles, flowers, coffee grounds, corn cobs, wood chips, etc. to go into the compost pile. But you need to avoid particular food wastes like meat, bones, fish scraps, perennial weeds, diseased plants, pet manures, fruit peels.
- Choose a convenient location to make your organic compost. It must be well-drained, sunny, and flat. You can opt to have a compost bin or open pile for the decomposing process; it’s your choice. If you want the compost bin, then you can buy it from the nearby stores where the gardening tools are available. Moreover, having it will make your compost area cleaner and neater, protecting it from the heat and keeping out the animals.
- When you have gathered all the waste materials that you need, dig a shallow hole with the help of a shovel or spade. Then, set the compost pile in the earth. Doing that will allow the worms and beneficial microorganism to merge into the soil and work for the decomposing process.
- Set something first for the compost pit, and that is twigs and straw. You need to make sure that the straw and twigs are buried a few inches deep into the earth and make sure you cover them with a layer of leaves. These elements will support the ventilation and draining in your compost pile. These materials will be the first layer for the decomposing process.
- Add the compost materials on the compost pile. You should always alternate the dry (leaves, straw, bark, coffee filters, etc.) and moist (eggshells, flowers, seaweed, tea bags, etc.) materials in the compost. Also, you need to add the compost materials in layers so that that it decomposes smoothly.
- Add manure, grass, and other plants if available. The materials you have added surely speeds up the decomposition process as it emits the nitrogen in the soil.
- Be sure that your compost needs to be moist. During the rainy season, the rainwater will eventually keep the compost moist, but during the dry season, water your organic fertilizer as you do to other plants. You need to make sure that the materials are a wrung-out sponge, so get that moisture level by watering the compost.
- You can also retain the moisture that you need for your organic compost by covering the pile or pit with wood, carpet scraps, plastic sheets, or others. Moreover, it will also be a protective shield during the heavy rainy season.
- You need to aerate the compost pile; thus, turn it every week with the help of a shovel or pitchfork. Turning the compost pile will assist fast decomposition and also help in reducing the odor that comes along when all the materials are breaking down.
- You can also add fresh material to the compost which may have come from your kitchen or any yard scraps. So, whenever you add new content in the compost, you need to mix it with the lower layers.
- Finally, after four to six months, you can observe the dark and crumbly color in your compost. The somewhat earthy smell will come from the well-prepared organic fertilizer. When you have the hunch that your organic compost is all set, use it wisely.
- However, you should always be sure your compost has completed the decomposing process. The microbes in the compost could take nitrogen from the soil and be harmful to the growth of plants.
In simple language, compost toilet is a kind of toilet which uses the human excreta as a compost material and makes it go through the biological process which is composting. They are often called ‘dry toilets’ because this particular toilet doesn’t have any flush for the water. Composting toilets have also used as an approach to ecological sanitation, which directly supports resource recovery.
During the process, the decomposition of organic matters takes place and turns the human excreta into compost. Microorganisms, mainly bacteria, and fungi under controlled aerobic condition play a key role in decomposition. You need to add sawdust, coconut coir, peat moss after the use of the human excreta for composting. It allows creating air pockets in the human excreta to promote aerobic decomposition. Not only that, but it also refines the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio and reduces the potential odor from the toilet.
Most of the compost toilets dependent on the mesophilic composting because the process calls for longer retention duration in the chamber. Such composting helps in the reduction of pathogens. And composting toilets do not need any septic tank or any sewer systems like the usual flush toilets as they avoid the water to control excess moisture. Even some of the compost toilets have urine diversion systems in the toilet bowl. In such a case, urine can be collected separately, and human excreta can be processed efficiently for compost.
How Compost Toilet Works:
- Install the compost toilet at your home. You can get different varieties that offer various designs, including the composting vaults, removable vaults, urine diversion, and active aeration.
- The human excreta contains 90 percent of water, which evaporates very quickly. Whereas, some have waterless urinal that skips the composting chamber and lets the evaporation place fast. The vent system in your compost toilet allows the evaporated liquid to escape into the air. Well, there are some compost toilets which have modern systems where suitable heating equipment are available to aid the evaporation process.
- The deepest part of the composting chamber collects the urine, which converts into a nitrogen-rich liquid. Most of the compost toilets separate the urine and stool as this encourages the aerobic environment in the chamber. The microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, compost worm, and other insects thrive to break-down the collected waste as they digest the feces. The separation of the solid and liquid also helps in preventing the unwanted smell.
- You may add materials like sawdust, peat mix, paper, ashes, wood chips, popcorn, or even coffee grounds in the compost. These additives will fasten the decomposing process and also reduces the potential odor.
- When your unit is full of wastes, you need to empty it. If your compost is ready, take it out. You will see more of a nutrient-rich compost rather than a lump of waste. It looks more or less similar to the topsoil when you see it for the first time after the decomposing process is complete.
- Maintain the proper balance of moisture, oxygen, heat, and aerobic bacteria in the compost throughout the process.
- It’s surprising to know, but the compost toilet, in reality, creates less smell than any bathrooms that you use. Most of the compost toilets consist of an extractor fan in it which eventually flows the bad odors outside in the air. Also, the separation process of solid and liquid in the compost toilet prevents the bad smell.
- The ordinary bathroom requires high energy which goes down the line from the septic system to the treatment plant. It costs a lot to break down human waste and for proper utilization. But the compost toilet lets the human waste go to the chamber for decomposition allowing to recycle it.
- Compost toilet makes you not to waste your money to buy any fertilizers or nutrient soil.
- Compost toilets are eco-friendly, and they don’t affect the environment in any means. Moreover, they are very supportive of the conservation and continuity of a healthy environment.
- It directly stands for the resource recovery about which most of the people are unaware.
- Moreover, the current sewer lines use chemicals for preserving and preventing the content.
- The compost toilet is way cheaper as various materials can build them. And you don’t need to build centralized sewage treatment plants. Besides, you will also be able to prevent the septic tanks that smells very severely.
- Compost toilets are very beneficial for the drought areas where the access of water is low.
How to set up the compost toilet
Well, the compost toilet is very different from any regular bathroom. And the misconception about the setup of compost toilet being difficult is all wrong because it’s way too easy. It hardly takes 1 to 2 hours for the installation of the compost toilet in your home or garden. However, every set up of the compost toilet differs from the design that you buy. You will find three types of compost toilet that you can choose from, they are:
Sun-Mar compost toilet
It comes with a three-chamber system. It removes the finished compost from finishing drawer and the unfinished one in the Bio-drum for further processing. The evaporation chamber ensures the compost is moist but not saturated and lets the excess liquid to evaporate.
Nature head compost toilet
Nature head compost toilet is also one of the choices that most people make while buying the compost toilet. This toilet is comfortable to carry, and you can have it while you are up for any camp or so. It uses a separate liquid method where a front-mount urine bottle collects the liquid, and the main composting chamber deposits the solid. Different chemical and additives play the character in the decomposition process.
Basic compost toilet
The basic compost toilet is one of the simple structured compost toilets. You can have designs where some have one to three chambers in it. Each of the parts is functioned to fulfill the three main fundamentals of decomposition, which is evaporation, decay, and transformation of waste into safe & useful compost. The basic design lets the waste go through the toilet into a composting chamber.
The most important factor for setting up the compost toilet is the place where you are trying to install it. You need to be careful about the choices and designs too. If you are going for the basic model, then build it near your garden. It becomes a lot easier for the evaporation process and all the decomposition.
However, your choice will be the final to set up any of the compost toilets. You can look up-to-the instruction given on the user manuals and then buy the compost toilet. It will take 60-180 days to install an excellent, nutrient-laden compost that would benefit your garden.
Compost bins are the significant structures that support the decomposition process for your gardens or lawns. The compost bins provide proper aeration and moisture retention for smooth and efficient decomposition. Compost bins are trendy these days because gardeners are tired of the compost piles that are open in the field. Moreover, it causes the dissolution to take longer time, which can be sometimes disheartening. But compost bins are very different as it speeds up the decomposition process with its protective design.
Nature of compost bins
Compost bins in your garden or lawns can also assure you the protection from the rodents. It gets covered inside with a lid which reduces any chance for an invasion by the rats. It also helps the compost to be safe from heavy rainfalls as the compost must have a specific moisture level. Some of the compost bins have a spherical shape which maximizes the heat retention for the compost. Moreover, the compost bins are very easy to use as you can move it from one place to another. Similarly, they only need little maintenance for it to go long-run.
Availability of compost bins
If you want any compost bins on your yard, then you will have two options for it. You can either purchase or make compost bin on your own. For example, wire bins which are made with a length of woven wire formed into a circle. Fifty-five-gallon barrel bins are made with fifty-five barrel having spaced holes around the perimeter having 18 inches high barrel. Another is wooden pallet bins which are made with wooden pallets.
Similarly, you can find readymade compost bins in a wide variety in the stores. Like, compost barrels (supports passive composting and helps deter animals), compost tumblers (it specializes in turning which fastens the decomposition).
The well-designed compost bins can contribute a lot more for the process of break-down of organic matter. The hotness in the centers prevent the animals from the compost and helps to maintain the moisture level. Compost bins are also an excellent contributor to get the decomposition process go neat and efficient. The proper management of our kitchen wastes and other leaves is only possible by the use of the compost bins. So, getting a compost bin will be compulsion while composting.