Summer is about to begin. Piles of dried weeds, leaves, and crop residue will “decorate” the garden.
Where to put them? And the first thought arose – to burn. But prudent owners do not burn such “wealth”. All vegetable waste can be easily and quickly turned into organic fertilizer.
There are several ways to quickly produce organic matter for fertilizing horticultural crops through aerobic (fast) composting. These are what this article will talk about it.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF RAPID COMPOSTING
Aerobic composting has a number of advantages over conventional composting:
- rapid organic fertilization from starting materials, which is especially important on poor and heavy soils that require more nutrients and looser materials.
- Space and labor-saving. Conventional composting requires a lot of space and time to produce fertilizer (up to 3 to 4 years) and requires constant turning during the fermentation process.
- Nutrient conservation: When prepared in piles and compost pits, some nutrients are lost by leaching into the underlying soil.
- You can prepare rapid compost in small batches and use mobile containers to create the space needed for the cultivation of vegetables and other crops.
- Rapid composting is also beneficial because it is a way to use plant waste that accumulates in the fall. They don’t have to be burned, poisoning the air and destroying the nutrients that plants need.
Aerobic composting is not without its drawbacks. The material to be composted goes down the pile with a variety of plant residues. Leaves from fruit trees or just tracts from cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, or other plants can slow composting because of their high carbon content or can burn off quickly if too much nitrogen is released.
What do I need to make high-quality fast compost?
There is a wide variety of materials to be used in the composting process to ensure a high quality of fast composting. In addition to the examples below, you can use all vegetable waste from your kitchen garden and surrounding garbage areas.
- Fresh nettles, grass clippings, green manure, legumes such as peas, and other nitrogenous plants.
- Small amounts of animal urine, poultry manure, and pig and cow manure can be added.
- Plant residues with high carbon content – leaves of trees and shrubs, wheat straw, sawdust.
- If composting with waste paper, tomatoes, eggplants, cabbage stems, etc. with medium carbon content, you must add lignite crushed to a powder to the mixture or use shredded residues from carbon storage plants (melons, buckwheat, mustard, rape).
You also need composting containers that are easy to move. Typically, multi-bag food film is used in volumes of 120-150 (up to 200) kg or liters. But there are also boxes of the same volume, lined with film (to save moisture), and bags of other materials are also possible.
Smaller volumes are unprofitable, the ingredients inside quickly dry out and fermentation almost stops.
Important: Bins for fast composting should not have holes and openings.
The basic prerequisite for making good quality fast compost is a loose spread of source material. Why is fast composting called aerobic composting? The crumb layer allows more oxygen in the waste, which speeds up the decomposition/fermentation of the source material.
Rapid composting is prepared at least twice a year, usually in the spring (and also in the summer) and in the fall.
RAPID COMPOSTING IN SPRING
In spring, the components of the future compost are evenly layered into prepared containers 4-6inch (10-15 cm): weeds, hauled leaves, leaves of fruit trees, stalks of legumes, grass clippings, small pieces of turf without soil, and other waste (sawdust, shavings, paper).
If there are conditions nearby, add green masses of plants: comfrey, nettles, mustard, rape, beans, etc.
Each layer is lightly covered with a shovel of soil, sometimes with a little wood ash or ammonium nitrate (literally, enough “salt” for each layer).
A more effective method is to soak each layer of raw material with a working solution of compost booster (a better local pharmaceutical system) plant extracts. If the components are very dry, moisten them slightly (humidity should not exceed 50-60%) before treating them with compost promoter.
Preparation of nutrient preparations or other compost boosters can be purchased at any garden store. Extracts contain dozens (up to 80) beneficial strains of soil microorganisms that actively suppress pathogenic microorganisms and ferment with the help of beneficial organic waste into humus compounds, the elements of which are available to plants.
The filled containers are flattened and taped or sealed, and the boxes are tightly covered with aluminum foil. The temperature in the container rises to 104°F (40°C), which helps (along with fermentation) to kill egg worms, seeds, most weeds, and pathogenic microorganisms. Of course, some useful microflora, which recovers after entering the soil, will also die.
If available, the finished compost can be poured out with a working solution of compost booster, covered, and put back into the soil after a planned period of time, 2-4 days before direct use.
The fermentation of plant residues in the rapid compost pile lasts 1-3 months, and the compost can be used both during the growing season and in the fall to prepare the soil for the next season.
FALL RAPID COMPOSTING
Fall composting is done after vegetables, vegetables and greenhouse crops have been harvested after the leaves have fallen and after the plots have rotted. In the lower layer of the container, 4-6inch (10-15 cm) stems of eggplant, tomatoes, dried weeds, and other dense wastes (bark, twigs, all unnecessary, but organic) are placed.
They will act as drainage and will increase the aeration of the entire laying mass in low-temperature conditions.
You can do without drainage. A large amount of plant waste is crushed with a shredder or manually with an ax or separator and put into containers. Laying and handling of materials are the same as in spring. Tie/tape the filled containers tightly and take them to a cellar or other frost-free place – in areas with frosty winters, in the south, the containers should be placed outside.
In spring, you will have humus that can be used for vegetable gardens, fruit tree and bush replanting, indoor flower replanting, winter garden, and greenhouse fertilization.
CONVEYOR WAY TO GET FAST COMPOST
Some gardeners (like my friend) have adapted to getting fast compost on an uninterrupted conveyor belt. Set up one or two 200-liter buckets with bricks in some secluded corner (behind the house, barn, outbuilding). Make 8x10inch (20×25 cm) doors on the ground at the bottom of one side of the bucket (to get into the shovel).
In one bucket put all the vegetables and even food waste. Sometimes it is slightly compacted, more often – slightly kneaded. A working solution of water or other compost enhancers on top. Cover the roller with cling film or a lid. Keep the drum at 60% humidity by wetting the material or by leaving the drum open to weeds for a period of time on a rainy day.
The fermented material settles down and, if necessary, a new portion of plant waste is thrown in and liberally sprinkled with the accelerator. after 1-2 months, the first part of the compost is emptied through the lower door while the upper part is left to ferment. two barrels on 4-6 acres will keep the plot clean and free of fall fires.
If the yard is large, with free space and a huge amount of plant waste, the same pile of plant waste, but in a fixed pile or compost pit, can be used to obtain a large amount of fast or aerobic compost.