Compost soil is a free medium to grow plants and vegetables in that you create yourself from leftover items and organic waste. You create compost soil by adding items that are naturally high in nitrogen and carbon to gain a rich dark soil that plants will allow plants to thrive naturally without any added fertilizer or insecticides.
Making compost soil from products that you would otherwise throw in the garbage makes recycling and reusing this items beneficial to you as well as the environment. Composting soil creates humus, which is a very dark brown or black colored soil with a pungent odor of earth. Organic gardeners use this type of planting medium for their vegetables. The natural organic balance suppresses plant diseases and pests so there is no need for insecticides. You do not need to add fertilizers to the soil either because the soil is rich in nitrogen, carbon and oxygen.
A compost soil pile should be at least one cubic foot square when you begin. You may just place your items on the ground, in a garbage can or container or a composting bin. A composting bin has a handle on it so that you can easily turn the items to incorporate oxygen. A compost soil bin is generally made out of a wire mesh material with a hinged door to add your items to it. If you create your area on the ground or in any other container, you should turn your materials at least once a week to add oxygen. Check the moisture of your compost soil about twice a week and add water if necessary so that it remains within the 50 percent water to items range.
The items to include in making compost soil are nitrogen, carbon, oxygen and water. The ratio of carbon to nitrogen items is two to three high carbon items to one high nitrogen item. These are added to your compost pile and the natural heat from the sun breaks the items down to reduce them in volume and create a highly efficient growing medium.
Some of the nitrogen-rich items to include in compost soil are eggshells, flowers, used coffee grounds, leaves and green grass clippings, used tea bags, and manure of any type. Fruit, vegetable scraps and hair are also rich in nitrogen. Items high in carbon are hay, leaves, paper, straw, branches, dry leaves, limbs, any dead plant or flowers. When you make compost soil with these items you apply water at a rate of 50 percent to the items and turn the pile to oxygenate for proper decomposition. Cover the compost soil so that excessive rain does not provide too much moisture. A lack of moisture will slow down the process. The best temperature for compost soil is 90 to 135 degrees and you can use a tarp or other cover in the winter to retain heat.
How long it takes to convert waste into compost soil depends on climate and the types of items in your compost pile. Higher temperatures help break down items more quickly. Larger brown items containing carbon, such as tree limbs, will decompose faster if they are broken into smaller pieces. Shredding paper and cardboard before adding to your compost pile will also speed up the process. An average compost pile will begin decomposing within a day, and significant results will appear within a week. The compost soil is ready for use when it is dark in color and very light and fluffy.
- Photo Credit "everyone is going green" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: woodleywonderworks (woodley wonderworks) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.