Compost: Got Worms?
The world of homesteading is starting to spread like a plague, but mind you it's a good plague. I suppose it would be more of a plague to Big Ag and corporations, but to us happy folk it's a great way to live life. Well the number one thing that goes with every homestead is a heaping hot pile of compost. That warm rotten smell is like hot crossed buns in the oven to worms and over microorganisms. Yummy!
Depending on the size of your homestead's garden/s you may need a small convenient compost or a large three bin rotating compost. Whatever your need is the most important part of composting is what to put in it and how to maintain it.
What NOT to put into the compost pile:
Dog or Cat Poop
Tea and Coffee Bags- Tea and Coffee can definitely go in, but let's leave the bags out
Citrus and Onions- the natural chemicals and acidity in both these products can kill worms and other microorganisms
Fish and Meat Scrapes
Glossy and Coated Paper
Sticky labels found on fruits and veggies
Coal Fire Ash
Sawdust from Treated Wood
Science Behind Composting: Bacteria, the powerhouses of the compost pile, breakdown plant matter into carbon dioxide and heat. A compost pile can get up to 100-140˚ Fahrenheit as it brews. Larger organisms such as worms, slugs, and insects will digest the decomposing matter. They poop out finish compost as they make their way through the piles. Their secretions improve the texture of the compost binding small particles into large clumpy bits. Compost piles consist of green and brown materials. The green materials we put into the compost consist of nitrogen rich plant scraps and the brown materials consist of dried leaves, wood chips, coffee grounds, and bits of paper. If there is not enough nitrogen, the microbes will have a hard time raising the temperatures to kill off most pathogens and dangerous bacteria in the final product. Too much nitrogen and the microbes will not be able to handle it and will give off an odorous ammonia gas. A lack of oxygen and the bacteria will not get enough air. The compost pile will start to smell and the bacteria will go from doing aerobic (oxygen environment) decomposition to anaerobic (non oxygen environment) decomposition. Anaerobic decomposition will give off methane and other gases and the compost pile will smell of rotten eggs. Ewww! Turning the compost over and adding dry, bulky material can allow for oxygen to enter back into the pile. Yeah!