It’s important to do your duty to recycle. There are few ways that offer more benefit than composting. Beyond the moral aspect, it offers the opportunity to develop nutrient rich soil and further enhance any garden through composting things you would never think to such as leaves and grass.
It is a common misconception that though composting leaves or grass has various benefits it can also cause a range of problems from odor to disease. This isn’t the case, all you need is a bit of effort, a quick initiation into how to keep track of crucial aspects such as maximum batch size, keeping your batch ventilated, the balance of nitrogen and carbon, and a few other minor aspects.
If you adhere to the points outlined in this guide, your garden will be significantly improved.
On one hand, an earthy organic, dark and rich matter is developed from composting leaves and grass which is great for growing plants. It is like the supplements humans use to grow muscles except for compost is used by plants to grow faster, stronger and longer lasting.
One interesting fact about compost is that unlike many of the nutrients that would be put in from using things like most mulches and other fertilizers, is that compost removes weeds by forcing them out. It also retains moisture when used as a mulch or top dressing so there will be no competition between the specific wanted plant and unwanted weeds.
It also adds to the garden soil without being easily removable or washed out by rain and the larger particle size helps consolidate the cultivation process and loosen compacted earth.
You or your gardener should always compost in a pile or any similar structure. There is one primary reason for this, which is based on generating proper ventilation and heat. It is important for the compost to be subjoined by air occasionally for aerobic microbes that are in the composting structure decomposing the material and turning it to the earthy organic matter.
While developing it is important to keep the compost warm, around 60 degrees Fahrenheit or even warmer. It is also important to keep the compost moisturized but not flooded while being developed.
In the compost situation, smaller leaves leads to faster break down. The mower can be used to break down the larger pieces into smaller ones.
The balance of carbon and nitrogen is also needed. The carbon in this case is the leaf litter while the nitrogen can be thought of as the green moist items such as grass clippings.
To achieve fast composting, the gardener needs to start with a layer of 6 to 8 inches thick of leaves which is the carbon source in addition to one inch of green nitrogen source. One cup of nitrogen fertilizer could also be added. Every two weeks, the layers should be mixed and the composting structure kept moderately moisturized.
While engaging in the composting process, there are several precautions that must be taken or at least taken into consideration such as the diseased leaves and other variables.
Diseased leaves could be used to make compost, but the pathogens require higher temperatures than normal leaves to be killed. If the pathogens are not killed they will end up infesting the compost and if spread in the garden, the plants will be infected. This will lead to less yield and your soil being rendered dangerous.
In order to maintain balance in the compost structure, a balance between carbon as brown materials and nitrogen as green materials such as grass clippings is essential. While being developed, the compost should be adjusted, mixed and watered regularly.
Contrary to what you may think, you can’t simply throw grass into a pile and call it compost. It is not that easy but also not as complicated as you imagine especially in regards to fresh grass clippings.
Grass is a green material and transforms into mat after being clipped and piled. However, tossing grass all over the compost pile could lead to slow and smelly composting. Poorly handled grass clippings in the compost pile could lead to a putrefactive, rotten and mucky mess.
To avoid that mistake, during the preparation process of the compost make sure to mix and turn the pile regularly to help spread the green material evenly among the brown material. This essential step will prevent the grass from getting matted in the compost pile or developing mushrooms.
During the process of composting, few problems may arise like odours and overheating. However, for the few problems that may occur there are many solutions. Concerning odours, mostly there are two smells that are predominant which are:
The rotten smell means that the compost pile has gone anaerobic due to shortage of oxygen reaching different parts of the pile. The solution for this problem is very simple: turn the pile over often by cycling it and keep it ventilated.
Moving on to the effect of ammonia, the smell is usually a result of excess nitrogen taking the form of ammonia. The problem most often occurs if the gardener introduced too many green materials presented in grass clippings before they had fully reached their deadened period.
However, it could be handled by restoring the balance between carbon (brown materials) and nitrogen (green materials) by adding leaves, straw or sawdust into the mix and adjusting the overall contents thoroughly.
Most don’t consider the effects that heat can have on a batch of compost. Overheating above 160 degrees fahrenheit eliminates every positive effect the compost could be capable of delivering. This problem can be avoided by placing a thermometer in the pile to help keep track of the temperature and help control the heat of the batch while it is processing.
The process of making compost using green grass clippings and brown leaves litter is a great way to recycle the nutrients your garden uses. It’s cheap, effective, and helps your garden grow and flourish without the use of artificially made additives, allowing you to appreciate its all natural beauty.