There are many ways to make compost for a garden, yard or indoor plants. The best composting method will depend on the space available, the intended use of the compost and the overall budget. Families should also consider how much compostable materials they will generate so they can size their composting equipment properly.
Compost Pile or Bin
Several times a week new composting materials are added and the compost is stirred with a pitchfork to aerate the mixture. Water is added if necessary to keep the mix damp as the compost decomposes. This is the most economical composting method. Some homeowners use a set of two bins or piles to separate the compost, allowing one pile to decompose completely while composting materials are added to the other pile.
A compost tumbler is a barrel that is placed on a stand so it can be rotated easily. Compost is added to the bin regularly, then barrel is turned to mix all of the composting materials together. Water can be added if the mix is too dry, leaves or newspaper should be added if the mix is too wet. Once the compost tumbler is full, it must be rotated for several weeks before the compost within can be used. Homeowners should expect to use a separate bin to store composting materials during this time.
Vermicomposting uses worms to break down compost and create castings which also further enrich the soil. Unlike many other composting methods, vermicomposting works well indoors or in an apartment setting. The compost produced is of very high quality, but vermicomposting often requires more work to produce compost.
Compost tea uses high-quality compost to infuse water with mineral nutrients and other beneficial additives. Adding compost tea is ideal in situations where using compost to provide nutrients would be impractical. While home gardeners can brew compost tea by placing compost into a burlap sack and soaking the sack in a barrel of water, the concentration of the beneficial materials in this type of brew is modest. Some companies make compost tea that is actively aerated and contains additives to boost the microbial content of the tea. However, critics note that it is likely that the microorganisms in compost tea will not survive depending on the soil conditions while adding compost to the soil adds microorganisms as well as organic matter to sustain the colony.