Guide to good composting


Introduction to composting

Composting is a natural method of transforming organic waste into a nutrient-rich compost known as organic fertiliser. As well as being a sustainable practice, composting has a number of benefits for the environment. By diverting organic waste from landfill, we contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving natural resources. In this guide, we'll explore the step-by-step process of making good compost, from selecting the necessary materials to utilising the compost produced. Learn how to turn your waste into quality compost and make a difference to the planet.

1 Introduction to composting

What is composting?

Composting is the natural process of decomposing organic matter, such as food waste, leaves, cardboard and so on, into a nutrient-rich compost called organic fertiliser. It's how nature recycles waste, turning it into something useful.

The importance of composting

Composting is important because it helps to reduce the waste of organic waste, preventing it from being sent to landfill sites and contributing to the preservation of the environment. Composting also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and preserves natural resources.

2. Benefits of composting for the environment

Reduction of organic waste

By composting our organic waste, such as fruit peelings and vegetable scraps, we prevent it from being disposed of as rubbish and sent to landfill sites. In this way, we reduce the amount of rubbish produced and help preserve the environment.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

When organic waste is disposed of in landfill sites, it decomposes anaerobically, i.e. without the presence of oxygen. This results in the release of gases such as methane, which contribute to global warming. By composting this waste, we are promoting aerobic decomposition, which produces fewer greenhouse gases.

Preservation of natural resources

Composting also helps to preserve natural resources, since the organic fertiliser generated can be used to improve soil fertility. This means that we can reduce the use of chemical fertilisers, which can be harmful to the environment, and take advantage of the natural nutrients contained in the compost.

3. Materials needed to start composting

Suitable containers

To compost properly, it's important to have a specific container for this purpose. There are various options available, such as backyard composters, compost bins and even compostable buckets. Choose the one that best suits your needs and the space available.

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Ingredients for composting

The ingredients for composting are the organic waste that will be broken down. This includes food waste such as fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds and leaves. Avoid adding meat, dairy products and fatty foods, as these can attract unwanted animals and hinder the composting process.

4. Step-by-step instructions for composting correctly

Preparing the container

Before you start composting, make sure that the container you have chosen is clean and in good condition. If necessary, drill holes in it to ensure air circulation. Position it in a place with good ventilation and easy access.

Creating the layers

A compostagem funciona melhor quando os ingredientes são adicionados em camadas alternadas. Comece com uma camada de material seco, como folhas secas ou papel picado, e adicione uma camada de resíduos orgânicos. Repita esse processo até que o recipiente esteja cheio, lembrando de sempre cobrir os resíduos orgânicos com uma camada de material seco.

Manutenção e cuidados

Para manter a compostagem saudável, é importante virar os ingredientes regularmente, para garantir uma boa circulação de ar e acelerar o processo de decomposição. Mantenha a compostagem húmida, mas não encharcada, e verifique se não há odor desagradável, que pode indicar problemas na decomposição. Em pouco tempo, você terá um adubo orgânico rico em nutrientes pronto para ser utilizado em suas plantas.

5. Care and tips to ensure efficient composting

Balance between green and brown materials

One of the most important aspects of efficient composting is finding the right balance between green and brown materials. Green materials are rich in nitrogen, such as fruit scraps, vegetables and cut grass, while brown materials are rich in carbon, such as dry leaves, paper and sawdust.For best results, it's important to maintain a ratio of around 3 parts brown materials to every part green material. This will help speed up the decomposition process and prevent the formation of unpleasant odours.

Humidity control

Humidity is another important factor to consider when composting. The compost should be moist enough to allow decomposition, but not excessively wet, as this can cause unpleasant odours and slow down the process.Keep the compost heap moist, similar to a damp sponge, but avoid it becoming soggy. If it's too dry, add a little water to moisten it. If it's too wet, add dry materials such as dry leaves or sawdust to absorb excess moisture.

6. Using the organic compost produced

Application to the soil

Once the composting process is complete and you have nutrient-rich organic compost, it's time to use it. The compost can be applied directly to the soil in your garden, flower beds, vegetable patch or plant pots. Spread a layer of compost over the surface of the soil and then mix it lightly with the surrounding soil. This will help improve the structure of the soil, increase water retention and provide essential nutrients for the plants.

Benefits for plants and gardens

Using organic compost produced from composting will bring many benefits to your plants and gardens. Compost is rich in essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which help plants grow healthily. In addition, compost improves the structure of the soil, increasing its water retention and aeration capacity. This results in stronger roots, better nutrient absorption and greater resistance to diseases and pests. The use of organic compost also helps to reduce the need for chemical fertilisers, contributing to the preservation of the environment.Proper aeration

7. Solving common composting problems

Unpleasant odours

If you're experiencing unpleasant odours in your compost heap, it could be a sign that the humidity is too high or there isn't enough oxygen circulating. You can also add dry materials such as leaves, sawdust or straw to absorb excess moisture and neutralise the odours. Avoid adding fatty foods, meat, bones and dairy products, as they can intensify unpleasant odours.

Presence of pests

If you notice the presence of pests, such as flies or rats, in your compost heap, it could be a sign that there are uncompostable food scraps or that decomposition is not taking place efficiently. Make sure you only add materials that are suitable for composting, such as fruit, vegetables, egg shells and leaves. Avoid adding meat, dairy products, oils or cooked food waste, as these can attract unwanted pests.

Slow composting

If your composting is taking longer than expected, it could be that the pile isn't getting enough oxygen or that the ratio of green to brown materials is unbalanced. Turn the pile over to improve aeration and make sure there is a proper ratio between the materials. If it's too dry, add a little water. If it's too wet, add dry materials. With proper care, composting should speed up and produce compost in a reasonable time.

8. Final thoughts and encouraging the practice of composting

Composting is a practical and sustainable way of recycling organic waste and producing a natural fertiliser for your plants. As well as reducing waste, composting improves soil health, reduces dependence on chemical fertilisers and contributes to a healthier and more sustainable garden. With the right care and a little patience, you can turn your waste into a valuable resource for your plants and the environment. Nature will thank you!

Final thoughts and encouraging the practice of composting

Composting is an accessible and beneficial practice for everyone. As well as helping to reduce the waste of organic waste, it contributes to the health of the soil, plants and the environment as a whole. By adopting composting into your routine, you'll be doing your bit to promote sustainability and create a virtuous cycle of utilising natural resources. So start making your own compost today and inspire others to join in. Together, we can make a difference and build a more sustainable future.