3 common mistakes when making a homemade compost

There are those who make some mistakes when making homemade compost. This natural fertilizer is often used in organic agriculture to fertilize various types of plants. What's more, It is an effective option to minimize organic waste and environmental pollution.

In her book "Organic Agriculture: Compost", Adriana Van Konijnenburg, an Argentine agronomist, explains that the animal and plant remains that reach the earth are food for many creatures that live there.

These specimens are responsible for converting said waste into organic matter with the ability to improve porosity, microbial life and the structure of the earth. What should you keep in mind? What are the mistakes to avoid? Keep reading to know more!

Suitable materials to make homemade compost

As we anticipated previously, the home composting process is not complex at all. Even so, in addition to appealing to our entire reserve of patience – as it is a slow process – certain issues must be taken into account.

One of them is the materials, since not all remains are suitable for this process. Which are the most suitable? Next, we detail the most used ones.

  • Grass cut and dried in the sun.
  • Peels and small pieces of fruits and vegetables.
  • Dry leaves.
  • Coffee grounds and tea leftovers.
  • Pruning remains, chopped into small pieces.
  • Citrus
  • Animal manure.

Making homemade compost is not complicated. However, it is necessary to avoid some mistakes that can affect its quality.

You may also be interested in: 9 mistakes you make when recycling

3 common mistakes when composting at home

The indicators that something is wrong with the compost can be varied, and are not always due to the same factors. It may happen, for example, that problems with temperature, presence of bugs or smell of putrefaction. What mistakes can you be making?

1. The compost exhibits a bluish-green color, and its interior is moist and compact

This can mean that you have excess water and insufficient aeration. To solve this problem, you must mix and crumble – during turning – the wet layers with the outer layers that are drier, says Van Konijnenburg in his book.

2. The mixture does not heat up

When decomposition begins, the temperature should rise considerably. If this doesn't happen, you may be making compost mistakes. Its causes can be varied and include the following:

  • It's too small to warm: to prevent this error, it is best to make compost in drawers.
  • It was built with materials that are too dry: this is a very simple error to fix; It will be enough just to water the mixture at regular intervals of 12 hours.
  • It was built in winter: If the compost was built in times of too cold temperatures, it is convenient to wait until spring to turn it over and add new layers of fresh materials. In this way, you can activate it.
  • It's too wet: in this case, when mixed with dry materials and turning it over, the decomposition of the mixture will be triggered.

3. The mixture attracts flies and smells like rot

Finally, Van Konijnenburg warns in his book that, in case of making this kind of mistakes when composting, the best remedy is rotate the mix and combine the most condensed layers with porous, carbon-rich materials. Some examples of these ingredients are dry grass, sawdust, or straw.

Tips for making a good homemade compost

Making homemade compost not only reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, but also helps to protect the environment. On the other hand, as stated in the Farmer's Composting Manual of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, it has other advantages over large-scale composting.

On the one hand, it allows have a more precise control regarding the irruption of birds and rodents. Likewise, it favors the turning of the mixture and protects it from wind and rain. To generate good material and avoid the errors mentioned, we give you some recommendations.

Choose the type of compost and the work area

The choice of a horizontal or vertical compost will depend on the amount of material that you want to use, as well as the dedication time and the available site. In relation to this last vector, it is recommended that the place be preferably ventilated, covered and easily accessible.

Chop the material and fill the chosen container

For optimal decomposition development, you should chop the ingredients until they are between 5 and 20 cm in size. Compost filling can take two to three weeks. Then, you will have to let it rest until the process has finished and the compost is removed.

Finish the process and obtain the final compost

If you have not made mistakes when making the compost, you should proceed, in this last instance, to the turning, aeration, sieving and quality control. With this, you can extract the final compost. Once the process is finished, all that remains is to use it.

For optimal decomposition development, it is recommended to chop the ingredients until they are between 5 and 20 cm in size.

You can also read: Tips for making compost at home

Community composting, a way to avoid mistakes when composting

A study carried out by the International University of Andalusia exposes the effectiveness of community composting techniques as part of the solution to the problem of urban solid waste.

People approaching the urban garden L’Hortet del Forat, in Barcelona, ​​they could have contact with their organic remains 24 hours a day. In addition to this, they were given a theoretical-practical workshop on composting.

The conclusion of the work carried out was positive. It was determined that this technique was successful in increasing citizens' awareness, understanding, and skills regarding the separation and recycling of organic waste.

Therefore, the study authors suggest that the States take reins on the matter to create waste prevention plans in neighborhoods and cities. They claim that they could even reward or reward, for example with a tax reduction, those individuals who practice regular, chronic and correct composting.