The Right Tool For The Right Job
Creating healthy compost is an essential part of gardening. It’s a natural way to enrich your soil, which in turn promotes plant growth and helps reduce waste. However, creating quality compost requires the right tools and techniques. In this blog post, we will discuss the tools and their uses to create healthy compost.
- Compost Bin: A compost bin is the most crucial tool for creating compost. It provides an enclosed space for composting, which helps control the temperature, moisture, and airflow. Compost bins come in various sizes, materials, and shapes, and you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
- Pitchfork: A pitchfork is a must-have tool for turning your compost. It helps to aerate the compost and mix the ingredients, which helps speed up the decomposition process. A pitchfork with long tines is best for turning large amounts of compost, while a shorter one is suitable for smaller quantities.
- Shredder: A shredder is an optional but useful tool for composting. It helps break down large pieces of organic material into smaller pieces, which helps speed up the decomposition process. A shredder is particularly useful for shredding woody material like branches or twigs.
- Moisture Meter: A moisture meter is an essential tool for monitoring the moisture level of your compost. It helps ensure that your compost isn’t too dry or too wet, which can affect the decomposition process. A moisture meter can also help you adjust the moisture level of your compost to maintain the ideal conditions for composting.
- Thermometer: A thermometer is an excellent tool for monitoring the temperature of your compost. It helps ensure that your compost is heating up to the ideal temperature range of 120-160 degrees Fahrenheit, which helps kill off pathogens and weed seeds. A thermometer can also help you adjust the composting conditions if the temperature is too high or too low.
- Compost Turner: A compost turner is a tool that helps you turn your compost easily without the need for a pitchfork. It’s a convenient tool for those with limited mobility or those who want to avoid getting their hands dirty. Compost turners come in various designs, including hand-cranked, electric, or battery-operated.
Creating healthy compost requires the right tools and techniques. A compost bin, pitchfork, shredder, moisture meter, thermometer, and compost turner are all essential tools for creating quality compost. By using these tools correctly, you can create nutrient-rich compost that will help promote healthy plant growth and reduce waste in your garden.
That's Great But What If You're On A Budget
If you’re on a budget, don’t worry; you don’t need fancy tools to create healthy compost. Here are some basic tools that you can use to get started:
- Build a Compost Bin: You can create a simple compost bin using pallets, wire mesh, or even an old trash can. This will provide an enclosed space for composting and help control the temperature, moisture, and airflow.
- Pitchfork: You can use a basic garden fork or even a shovel to turn your compost. It may not be as efficient as a pitchfork, but it will get the job done. This is one tool that I say is necessary. You’ll be turning your compost piles regularly and why not make it a bit easier for yourself.
- Shredder: While a shredder is useful for breaking down large pieces of organic material, you can achieve similar results by chopping up material with a machete, shears, or even a kitchen knife. Or better yet, use your string trimmer to shred leaves. A string trimmer won’t break down twigs or branches but you can get a good start on leaves and other non-woody items.
- Moisture Meter: While a moisture meter is useful, you can monitor the moisture level of your compost by feeling the compost with your hand. If it feels too dry, add water, and if it feels too wet, add dry material like leaves or shredded paper.
- Thermometer: While a thermometer is useful for monitoring the temperature of your compost, you can gauge the temperature by feeling the compost with your hand. If it feels warm to the touch, then the compost is heating up.
- Compost Turner: While a compost turner is convenient, you can use a basic garden fork or shovel to turn your compost.
While fancy tools may be useful, you don’t need them to create healthy compost. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can create quality compost using basic tools. Just remember to monitor the temperature, moisture, and airflow of your compost to ensure that it’s decomposing properly.
What Happens If The Compost's Temperature, Moisture and Airflow Are Not Right?
If you don’t get compost to the right temperature, moisture, or airflow, the decomposition process can slow down or even stop altogether. This can result in the following problems:
- Slow decomposition: The microorganisms that break down organic matter in compost require the right conditions to thrive. If the temperature, moisture, or airflow is not optimal, the microorganisms may not be able to work efficiently, causing the compost to decompose slowly.
- Foul odor: If the compost is too wet, compacted, or lacking in oxygen, anaerobic bacteria may begin to grow, producing foul-smelling gases like hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. These gases can be unpleasant and potentially harmful to human health.
- Attracting pests: Improperly maintained compost can attract pests like rodents and flies, which can be a nuisance in the garden. These pests can spread disease and cause damage to plants and structures.
- Nutrient loss: If the compost is too dry, the nutrients in the organic matter may not be able to break down properly, resulting in nutrient loss. This can reduce the overall quality of the compost and limit its benefits to the garden.
Getting compost to the right temperature, moisture, and airflow is essential for proper decomposition and to avoid unpleasant and potentially harmful outcomes. By monitoring these factors and adjusting them as necessary, you can create nutrient-rich compost that will help promote healthy plant growth and reduce waste in your garden.