How to make a compost heap in the dacha with their own hands, so that the compost ripens properly
Organic farming without the use of mineral and chemical fertilizers is becoming increasingly popular. And the best alternative to chemicals is compost – a substance obtained from the decomposition of various organic waste during their processing by worms, bacteria and fungi. To get such a natural fertilizer, all the waste is collected in one place – on a compost heap. In order for it to mature quickly and properly, you need to know how to make a compost heap in the countryside with your own hands and what is needed to ensure that the processes of decomposition in it proceed properly.
Types of plants for composting
The type of composter depends on what type of composting you need – anaerobic or aerobic.
- In anaerobic composting, organic matter decomposes without oxygen in the presence of anaerobic bacteria.
- Aerobic composting is more common. To process the organic matter, oxygen is arranged to it, which is necessary for the activity of aerobic bacteria, earthworms, other microorganisms and insects.
For the first type, compost pits are arranged, the contents of which, after storage and compaction, are covered with earth or covered with airtight film. The decomposition process in this case goes slowly, methane and hydrogen sulfide are released – gases with a rather unpleasant smell.
The disadvantage of this method is that the weed seeds remain viable in the finished compost, since composting takes place at a temperature which rarely exceeds 30 degrees. While in aerobic composters it reaches 65-70 degrees. In these conditions, not only the seeds die, but also harmful microorganisms and insect larvae that are pathogens of many diseases. And decomposition is much faster.
Therefore, the second method is more popular. However, in order to get a complete fertilizer, you need to know how to properly create a compost heap on the plot.
The fastest and easiest way is to install a ready-made plastic composter, which can be bought in garden centers. Such products can be a simple ready-made structure in the form of square or hexagonal boxes without bottom and lid, or a full container with ventilation grates, holes for draining excess liquid, an upper lid for loading waste and a lower door for removing the finished substrate.
The advantages of this solution are longevity of construction, representative appearance and ease of installation. The disadvantage is the high cost. A container of this type, as shown in the photo, costs 4-5 thousand rubles.
It is much cheaper to make a composter from wood – from boards and planks left after construction, pallets, old window and door frames. It is made in the form of a box, with or without a lid, the walls of which are not solid, and have slits for air access to the rotting waste. Therefore, pallets are ideal for this purpose. In addition, they have the right size. It is enough to attach only 4 pallets to each other to get a compost box. The front wall can be removed for mixing and removing the contents.
There are several ways to make a compost pile on a wooden Dacha. For example, a box for them can be made from collective cards of boards with cuts at the ends. Or assemble from the remnants of a log in the form of a small log cabin.
But the easiest way to nail the boards to the 4 corner shelves of timber. They can be dug into the ground at the corners of the future composter or made from a frame with transverse wings. The design can be anything, it is important to give it optimal size and protect it from decay.
- The volume of the container should be at least 1-1.5 cubic meters, so that the mass of composted waste is sufficient to maintain a high temperature and retain moisture. Optimal dimensions are 1×1,5×1,5 m and close to them.
- Before assembling the box all made wooden elements should be impregnated with antiseptic.
- At the place of installation it is necessary to remove the top layer of soil and compact the ground.
Once the frame or corner posts are installed, the planks are nailed horizontally on them, leaving gaps between them for air circulation. The front wall is sewed up only at the bottom not more than half the height. The upper part becomes removable or in the form of a hidden door. Separately made a cover, but it is not a mandatory element of the design – you can do without it.
In this design you can make changes depending on the availability of improvised material. For example, make the walls in the form of a grid of thin rails or fix a metal mesh on the frame.
Some gardeners make composters with a wooden floor, which facilitates the accumulation of finished substrate and mixed compost during maturation. In this case, the floor should also be slotted and elevated above the floor to allow air to enter the box from below.
However, this kind of soil makes it difficult for earthworms, which are important participants in the processing of organic bits, to get into the compost. Therefore, it is better to choose crates without a bottom, and put large branches or other drainage material on the bottom, which will drain excess water through itself and will not affect air circulation and worm migration.
Watch a video about the construction of a wooden composter:
Compost bin made of wood
The suitable material for making a composter is a sturdy steel mesh with cells of any size.
In addition, only wire and non-stretchy material will allow air to pass through – tension bond or lutrasil will be required.
- Fold a cylinder from the mesh, making it about 15-20 cm, and fasten it with a soft wire.
- The resulting bottomless basket is set in place, first removing the bend from the bottom and tying it to a fence, post, any other support.
- The inner walls are covered with a tension tie.
- To prevent the fabric from shifting, its edges are defined and fastened to the mesh with clothespins or staples.
Compositions from improvised materials
If the farm has an old slate, corrugated sheet, large car or tractor tires, with their help you can solve the problem of how to quickly make compost on the dacha.
Mount them in different ways.
- On a wooden frame – on the same principle as the construction of boards.
- The lower part is dug into the ground and tied with wire.
- Pins on both sides of the sheet are hammered into the ground.
Various containers are also suitable for this purpose – plastic, wooden and metal barrels, concrete rings, an old bathtub, etc.
Compost can be made to store organic waste without a fence or tanker. They are simply thrown into a stack, which gives a green herb mass with kitchen waste, sawdust, dried leaves, straw, manure or chicken. However, this method has a number of drawbacks:
- The bundle has an unsightly appearance;
- It dries out quickly and requires moisture;
- Weeds grow on its surface.
If you have enough space on your plot and have a free bed, it is better to use it for composting. To do this, in the spring and summer, the top layer of soil is removed from the beds to the bayonet of a spade and fill them with waste. In autumn, they are raked out, covered with earth and sown with green manure – mustard, peas, phacelia, oats.
The next spring, the earth is recultivated with greenery, which will come up in the fall, and vegetable plants are planted on the bed. And for composting choose another site.
This video shows another way to make a compost bed:
Tips for Making Compost
If you want to know how to create compost at the cottage, stick to the recommendations of experienced gardeners in terms of what you can put in compost and what not, how to speed up the maturation process and how the finished fertilizer brings maximum benefit and plants and improves soil structure.
What not to put in the composter.
To ensure that the nutrient substrate is saturated with all the necessary microelements, but at the same time does not contain harmful substances, compost should be made only from a capable bud. But you should not shove everything in it, there are some restrictions.
Let’s list the forbidden products:
- Roots of perennial weeds and grasses with mature seeds – they may not burn completely and get sprouts.
- Leaves of fruit trees and shrubs affected by fungal infections and other diseases.
- Kitchen effluent of animal origin – bones, meat, fish, sausages, fats, etc. These will rot, give off an unpleasant odor, and form a breeding ground for pathogens.
- Citrus shells are also not suitable for compost – their smell discourages worms and beneficial insects.
- Fruits and tops of garden plants affected by late blight and other infections.
- Coal ash, briquette, burnt building materials with synthetic components.
- Pet cats and fillers from their toilets.
How to dispose of waste
Organic processes ferment best and fastest when they are stacked in layers. In general, all organic waste is divided into green and brown. Green includes freshly cut grass, vegetable kitchen scraps, and brown includes hay, straw, and dry leaves.
This video demonstrates proper compost placement:
Green and brown waste is recommended to lay in layers, pouring over soil, manure, humus or already mature compost, which contains active bacteria in the compost pile. The green part of the waste gives off heat during decomposition, and the brown part provides air permeability due to low convergence.
To improve the quality of humus, waste decomposing bacteria are added to the compost pit.
Rules for placing and composting composters
To prevent the sun from evaporating moisture, it is better to place it where its direct rays do not penetrate – in the shade of trees or buildings. At the same time, the compost must be placed at a distance from drinking water sources and on the Lee side so that the odours do not reach the windows of your own and the neighbouring houses and recreational areas.
For fast decomposition, the compost needs to be stirred regularly. However, this is not easy, so it is better to organize compost in 3 sections. The second one stores fresh waste – last year’s waste – last year’s waste, and the third one will already be ready for fertilizing.
It is not necessary to make a cover for the compost, but its presence makes life very easy – it gets rid of the raids of cats, dogs and rodents that enjoy the kitchen waste, dries a few and protects against unpleasant odors.
In a nutshell.
There is nothing complicated in how to make compost in the country house with their own hands. To do this, various organic waste is put in one pile on the plot and in the house. To the type of decomposing organic matter does not interfere, build boxes from boards, building pallets and other similar materials, make mesh baskets or install a suitable container. A ready-to-use plastic component is also available for sale. Maturation time and quality of compost depend on following the rules of laying.
Garden compost is free, and at the same time the most valuable fertiliser in the garden. The garden composter is a small structure with which the gardener prepares an excellent organic fertilizer and at the same time gets rid of organic garden waste. What is a composter, how does it work and how to properly prepare garden compost so that the grass does not rot in rainy summers and does not dry out in the heat? We will talk about all of this in today’s article.
What is compost
Compost is an organic fertilizer that is preserved by the decomposition of various organic substances under the influence of microorganisms.
In favor of compost, in addition to the fact that it is a universal fertilizer, says that this fertilizer is natural and absolutely free.
Why do I need a garden composter at the cottage?
A properly arranged garden composter creates compost and is a kind of mini factory for processing garden and organic waste into fertilizer, as well as away unpleasant odors and flies that are constantly swirling over the compost pit.
Structure of the composter
The garden composter is a large container with a capacity of 200-1000 liters, depending on the needs of the dacha owner and the size of the plot. The optimum composter box has a footprint of 2-4 square metres and is about one metre high. A proper compost box can be made of any material. The important thing is that the walls keep the heat in and that excess water can drain out from underneath. And, of course, the garden composter should be easy to use.
Modern composters come in single chamber and 2 or even 3 chamber composters.
Homemade garden composter for country houses usually consists of boards. The frame, assembled from a bar, is replaced by wooden boards. In the simplest version of the design, the cover is either not made at all, or the composter is covered with a film.
When installing a homemade composter, they often use sheets of slate, which last much longer than wooden ones, and a metal profile, from which the walls of the garden composter are made much faster and easier than from wooden boards.
More often than not, you can find garden composters of various designs made of plastic. You can buy fully prefabricated composters or prefabricated options.
If you decide to install a garden composter on your plot, be sure to forgo digging compost pits in favor of a homemade or store-bought composter. Compost pits often accumulate water, hinder air access, and make rotting processes more difficult as a result. In addition, compost in a compost pit is difficult to mix, and the finished compost is difficult to get out of the lower layers of the pit.
If you do not have time to make a good garden compost pit, and buy a ready-made compost pit is not possible, it is better to make an ordinary compost pile – three walls of any available material, up to a meter high.
It is best to make a slatted floor for the compost bin. In this case, additional air is sucked into the compost from below, and the composting process goes faster and better.
It is important to place the garden composter in a dry place on a surface that absorbs moisture well – sand, gravel or grass. The drainage holes in the composter must allow the excess moisture to escape unhindered to the outside. In areas with heavy clay soil, place a layer of gravel or cut branches under the composter. If the soil under the garden composter is made of wood or concrete, spread a layer of straw or sawdust at least 20-30 cm thick.
Oxygen is essential for the best possible decomposition process. To do this, you can either stir the compost or make sure that the composter has access to air in the center where the most active decomposition takes place. This can be done by means of a drilled plastic or asbestos pipe placed vertically in the center of the composter.
To speed up the composting process, you need to heat the walls of the composter. You can do this by laying a layer of styrofoam inside the walls during construction. At the same time, during hot summer days, you must ensure that the compost is turned regularly and thoroughly to prevent it from burning.
The minimum volume of a compost heap must be at least 1 m3 , otherwise the organic matter will dry out very quickly. For the same reason, it is best to place the garden composter in the shade.
If the compost heap is in the open air, it must be covered from above. In winter and spring, you can cover the composter with foil, in summer with any opaque material. If you leave the compost heap uncovered, the nutrients will be washed away by the rains during the season.
When setting up a garden composter, make sure that access routes are convenient and that the front wall of the composter is removable, low or absent altogether.
How to make compost
As surprising as it may sound, compost cooks itself. The job of the gardener in this case is to create the right conditions and add the raw material to the garden composter in a timely manner. The process of compost formation is a friendly work of soil-forming organisms – bacteria, fungi and worms. They need nutrition, air, comfortable humidity and temperature. Everything else they do themselves.
What you should not put in your garden composter
Protein leftovers – meat, fish, lard, bones;
Dairy waste and protein residues in a garden composter are harmful because they attract flies and rats and give off an unpleasant smell as they decompose. You can put them in the composter and shovel them into the pile in small batches. This way they decompose faster and do not cause additional problems.