How to Make Compost at Home?

So you have got a vegetable or flower garden and you already figured out the hard way that NOT everything can be bought from the super market in order to maintain your garden. Compost made at home is pretty much a necessity to grow your produce in an organic way while caring for the environment.

Making compost at home is not difficult if you get yourself organized a bit and willing to dispose the right kind of kitchen waste, animal-poultry manure, leaves and grass into a suitable compost area or bin.

Nitrogen & Carbon rich compost ingredients

The essence of organic composting is to supply your plants with the nourishment that they require – which is primarily nitrogen and carbon etc. The following are the garbage items that contain a lot of Nitrogen and carbon in them which means they are good for making compost.

Fruit & vegetable scraps, grass clippings, garden weeds, green comfrey leaves, chicken manure, tea leaves and coffee grounds are excellent sources of Nitrogen.

Old cardboards, paper (except glossy ones), leaves, wood ash, old newsprint, wood chips etc are good source of Carbon.

Good compost would have more Carbon than Nitrogen. 2:1 ratio is recommended between Carbon and Nitrogen which means more brown waste (cardboards, twigs, dry leaves) than green material.

Note: Never compost meat, bones and cooked food

How to Make Compost?

You may follow the following steps to make compost at home. Please note that you may need it all around the year and hence making it in two or three batches might help the cause.

  1. Find a suitable flat ground in your garden or backyard where the compost pile needs to be set up. It should be typically a place where grass isn’t there and wouldn’t easily be swept away by rain or wind
  2. Lay twigs, straws or heavy weeds first. This helps with aerating the compost pile as well as providing adequate drainage in case of mild rains
  3. Layer the compost material in such as way that wet materials such as kitchen waste or animal manure and dry material such as paper and cardboard are in alternate layers
  4. Add manure such as wheatgrass or clover to activate the pile and expedite the process
  5. Sprinkle water occasionally – a couple of times a day – to build it up
  6. Cover it with a plastic sheet or old mat as the heat and steam generated within will make the perfect compost
  7. Turn the compost around every week with a shovel as this helps to aerate the pile

Your compost will be done in about two months. You know it is ready when there’s no more heat felt whenever you remove the cover and when the ingredients are beyond recognition. Good quality compost will have a dark brown color, easily crushed and highly aerated.

Alternatively you can also use compost tumblers or bins to save space and prevent dirt from spreading around in your garden.

Check out these affordable compost tumblers which suits most garden needs.

1. Envirocycle Original Composter Black
2. Tumbling Composter

Happy Gardening!

Fastest Growing Vegetables

If you are looking for fast growing vegetables for your gardening purpose, you have landed at the right page. Here is a list of fastest growing vegetables or early maturing crops to help with your specific needs such as vegetable gardening in winter.

(Note: The vegetables mentioned here are primarily those found and cultivated in most countries. Your particular country may have a bigger list of early crop vegetables to add to this list)

List of fast growing vegetables

1. Sprouts (Less than a week): If you are looking at the fastest possible crop, look no further but go for various sprouts. Sprouts can be grown out of a wide variety of seeds such as beans, lentil, fenugreek and sunflower seeds. Sprouts can be made out of leafy vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli or even from radishes and carrots.

2. Leafy vegetables (3 weeks to 6 weeks): The following green leafy vegetables can be grown in virtually any climatic conditions for your all round year kitchen needs.

Broccoli, leaf lettuce, winter lettuce, cress, spinach, leeks, parsely, asparagus etc are examples of leafy vegetables that mature in a month’s time.

3. Root vegetables (25 to 90 days): Chives, radishes, beets, onions and turnips are in those root veggies that mature between 4 to 8 weeks.

Early cabbages, peas, early carrots, zucchini etc are other examples of the fast growing vegetable crops.

4. Three to 4 month crops: If you are looking at three month maturity crops, beets, carrots, globe onions, corns, French beans, tomatoes etc would be the right things to go for.

I hope this list is useful in preparing your garden for short cycle cultivation needs. Please note that the time mentioned here can vary based on the climatic conditions and how early you want them to be collected (especially in the case of root vegetables).

Vegetable Gardening in Winter

Gardening as such is a difficult job in any season and it can get even tougher in winter. At the same time, it is very important to keep your garden maintained and its soil fertile throughout the year.

Thinking positively, winter gardening has the additional advantage that you can still get vegetables for your kitchen without going to a grocer and that too at a lower cost. In addition, you can keep your gardening skills and passion alive without any seasonal break.

Winter Vegetables

Vegetables to grow in winter should be ideally early maturing crops or mid-season crops. In addition, they should be undemanding type of plants that do not grow too tall.

The following are the typical winter crops.

  • Winter lettuce
  • Onions, shallots and spring onions
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Cabbages and turnips
  • A wide variety of peas

Timing and planting

In winter, timing is the most important parameter in order to make sure that your crops are ready just before the FIRST peak frost. This typically falls in late October or early November depending on your region. Then you have to backward calculate, and plant your seeds or saplings discounting the time for maturity.

Timing and knowing your weather are the main success factors in winter gardening

For example, if lettuce matures in 45 days, you can plant it as late as in mid-September. However, mid-season crops such as carrots would need early planting so that it is harvested before the first bad frost of the year. Please note that winter may not be the best time to grow lettuce, but you could grow it as late as in October for our winter gardening sake.

Early start in fall helps with the easy preparation and plowing of your garden.

Sourcing tips

You can source your garlic or onions for planting even from a grocer and don’t need to necessarily go to a garden center or seed supplier. However, if you source it from a grocer, you have to make sure that they are organic garlic or onion and not sprayed with any growth-prevention sprays. Sometimes, you might even get free garlic for planting – something that has already started sprouting and hence cannot be sold by the grocer may come free if you are in good rapport with your local grocer. Planting seeds, definitely needs you to buy it from authorized suppliers.

Protecting your plants

Covering your garden – most importantly to protect the fertility of the soil and its consistency – is another important thing to do. Seasoned gardeners will use anything available varying from straws and leaves to garden protection covers or cloches. In the case of an unexpected early frost arrival, you may have to be prepared yourself with cold frames to protect the plants at night and removed early morning every day.

If you are one of those lucky ones, you may already have a greenhouse with you in which case you have no reason to worry.

Protecting your plants for winter, in fact, starts from how you prepare your land. Plants are more protected in a prepared raised bed of soil than flat surfaces. This can also help with easy harvesting.

Winter vegetable gardening is all about knowing the weather in your geographic location and a little bit of calculation for timing it right.