COMPOST FOR PERMACULTURE GARDENS
Maybe you have heard about compost and all its benefits, but you don't know exactly how to make it or how it works. Well, this post is for you!
What is compost?
Compost is an organic fertilizer that you can obtain from the controlled decomposition of organic matter. It should be a black soil with a nice smell (yeah it doesn't stink!) and it has beneficial properties for the land and plants. You will obtain it after the transformation of the organic waste in the presence of oxygen.
Compost guarantees a nutritive backup for the plants; it encourages absorption and retention of water, it helps air circulation and protects from humidity and temperatures changes
The compost process is fulfilled by multiple bacteria and fungus which eat, crush, decompose and digest the cells and molecules from organic matter. The are also a small number of little animals who help to developed this tasks. They are earthworms, insects and its larvae.
Our job is to maintain the right conditions for the life of this organisms. The compost pile mustn't be sprayed with insecticide, deodorant or thinners, because we would kill the animals in charge of the decomposition.
What are its advantages?
Having your own compost pile will help you to reduce the organic garbage bag from your kitchen and garden which is really positive to our planet and, furthermore, the use of a good quantity of compost in the garden or the orchard improves our soil properties considerably, avoiding the need of using chemicals fertilizers and spending too much water. This results in healthier products from our orchard
How to make it?
The materials you will need are: soil from the garden, dry materials, green materials and, of course, a compost box!
Dry materials are basically made out of carbon: dry leaves, tree branches, straw, dry grass and plants, and unstained paper and cardboard.
Green materials are made out of nitrogen, which are: fruit and vegetable wastes, smashed egg shells, coffee grounds, infusions and tea wastes, fresh grass, herbivore animals dregs, green leaves, roots and plants and fruit pieces from the trees.
Now we will tell you our experience of building a compost box out of wood, but you should know that there are many different ways of producing compost. Just check it on the internet
We built a wooden box with measures 80 cm long, 50 cm wide and 50 cm high. All of the walls and base were made with wood planks leaving in between of all of them a two-fingers space, so the air could flow in and out. We placed the box in a between-sun-and-shadow spot in the garden, and on top of some roof tiles, so the air can flow easily and the water drops better.
The first thing you have to do is fill the box with a first layer with soil from the garden. The next step is a layer of dry materials, followed by another layer with the green materials (don't forget to include here the organic wastes from the kitchen). Keep adding layers in this repeated order until the box is fully filled. Remember to always add twice as much amount of green waste than the dry waste.
Once the box is filled, cover it with dry leaves. During rainy season you may want to cover the pile with a big cloth. It is important to maintain humidity, so if the pile is too dry, you have to water it, specially in dry season.
From the next five days, mix the pile once in two days, switching the inside part with the outer part vice versa. If you follow these steps, you should have your compost ready within two weeks. This type of compost is 100% decomposed, so you will see a black, uniform soil with nice smell. It has been in the box for 6 or 8 months. This is the compost we recommend you to make since you can mix it with the garden soil to improve its nutrients.