Like your own health, the soil in your kitchen garden should also be healthy to perform gardening functions optimally. A continuous supply of nutrients is necessary so that vegetables, fruits or plants you have grown give you best production. Believe me; I have seen many blooming gardens turning into trash within not time. The reason is simple. You are harvesting the energy of the soil of your kitchen garden and not returning it back. This problem is common in urban gardening systems where the focus is to get more production from little space without refueling the soil to desire extent. To address this issue, today I am going to write on preparing compost for your kitchen garden at home. This article is a beginners guide for preparing compost at home. Before moving ahead, if you are planning of making compost of your own, start preparing now, as it will take at least one year to get it.
Now as you are all set to start making compost of your own, keep in mind these below bullet points;
- Where to make compost?
- How to prepare compost?
- Temperature Requirement for making compost.
- Carbon-Nitrogen ratio
- Precautions while preparing compost
Where to Make Compost?
The first and foremost element to address while planning to prepare compost is the selection of appropriate composting bin. Many online websites sell composting bins and barrels crafted specifically for urban gardening. They have a small inlet door where you can add composting input material.
I recommend every reader of mine to have a composting bin in his/her kitchen garden. Alternatively, you can also prepare your own traditional composting box made up of timber. This option also allows the freedom to customize the size of composting container as per your garden requirement.
Location of placing the composting bin, barrel or container is important. It’s better to place it where people gathering are not frequent. This is due to the stink production as microbes start preparing compost for you. Then it is also important that your composting bin have sufficient access to sunlight.
The color of the composting bin is usually black. This is mainly to absorb more sunlight. In case you are using your home made timber composting bin, I recommend covering it with black tarp. This will work in the same manner.
Input Material for Making Compost
Being organic farming proponent, your kitchen garden soil should be fed with organic compost. And this is actually the goal of urban gardening to grow organic and eat fresh. So to get organic compost, the input should also be organic. There should be no chemical based or chemical added products in your compost input materials.
For organic composting, you can add fruits and vegetables refuses, paper, small wooden sticks, newspapers, straws and grass clippings. Let me be clear, that newspaper may have chemicals in it, but its amount is negligible. If you are short of input material for making compost in kitchen garden, you can knock the door of your neighbors and ask them for their vegetable and fruit extras. If there are horses, sheep, goat or other livestock around your premises, feel free to add nutrient rich pack of manure in your composting bin.
Temperature Requirement for Making Compost
While preparing compost for you urban garden, temperature is the most critical factor to be looked at. Scientifically, a temperature between 140-160 Fahrenheit is best for composting. At this temperature, the microbes are mostly busy and effective in decaying process and making compost.
However, if this range of temperature is not achievable in your kitchen garden environment, do not worry; microbes will still perform their duty as they also generate temperature of their own while decaying and composting. Just be sure that your composting bin is not in freezing temperature.
Like temperature, maintain carbon-nitrogen ratio while adding composting input materials. Any imbalance will affect the quality and later the performance of your compost in kitchen garden. A general rule is to maintain have 30:1 carbon-nitrogen ratio that is 30 parts of carbon and 1 part of nitrogen. Excess carbon will slow the decay process, while high nitrogen creates mess in the form of smell.
Now the next question here what are the best sources of Carbon and Nitrogen? As per my recommendation, for carbon, you must include following in your composting material;
- Corn stalks
- Card boards
- Fruit shells of peanuts
- Pine needles
- Saw dust
On the other hand, fine sources of nitrogen are;
- Vegetable scraps
- Coffee grounds
- Grass clippings
- Garden waste
Precautions while preparing compost
I hope your question how to prepare compost in kitchen garden at home has been addressed successfully. Below is the list of precautionary measures that should be given due consideration while preparing compost for urban gardening especially if you are a beginner in composting.
- Stirring the decaying compost in the container is of great importance. Use garden fork for this purpose. At least do this exercise once a week. This allows good aeration to decaying compost and enhancement in composting process.
- Black Color of composting container is important. As I mentioned earlier, use black tarp over your timber composting container for this purpose to absorb maximum sunlight.
- Collect Liquid Compost In some purchased composting containers, there is an option that allows rain water to pass through inside the decaying material and collect at the bottom. In that case, collect that precious nutrient rich water and apply to your plants in kitchen garden.
- Compost is Ready to Harvest for kitchen garden when it is decayed to a point that it appears like healthy and rich soil.
- Apply your homemade compost to the plants which are at least 8-12 inches tall. Put an inch of compost around the stem and blend it in the soil.
Happy growing and eating 🙂
Cite this Article in APA Style as:
[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, September 03). Preparing Compost for Kitchen Garden at Home: Beginners Guide [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/09/03/preparing-compost-for-kitchen-garden-at-home-beginners-guide/[/box]