Composting is a method of returning nutritional content to the soil in a form that makes it readily available to the plants. The method used will determine the length of time needed to produce a final product as well as the density and availability of the nutritional content. Different tools (bins of varying shape, size and color, with and without the ability to tumble) and elements (heat, air, worms, chickens) will facilitate the processing of the organic matter in different ways. The above picture shows a blended final product of compost and worm castings. Different inputs will produce different consistency and nutritional content. Blending straw (carbon) into any composting material gives it the ability to break down slowly. This carried out process will extend delivery of nutrition. When used in pots, this medium will also facilitate drainage, a key factor for maintaining healthy roots. Some things to consider when determining the the arrangement that best suits your needs are:
-How much organic matter will consistently be being processed? If sufficient quantities are to be handled, consider worms and/or chickens for their ability to quickly process large amounts of organic matter. Both of these element have countless other benefits to offer. Remember, these are not reserved for large farms. Many cities are chicken friendly.
-If quantities are limited or irregular, consider a compost bin. Some bins have open bottoms thereby encouraging natural inhabitants such as worms and larva. This population will self regulate, so there is no need to worry about “feeding” them. They offer faster processing and richer fertilizer. Other bins have the ability to be turned so that their contents can be tumbled. This action oxygenates the organic matter so that nutrition-creating life will abound.
-Space constraints. Composting methods range from apartment applications to large acreage applications. If space and/or processing material is limited, consider a compost bin. As mentioned above, these come in various configurations. Bins that will process the organic mater faster will be black. This is a technique to encourage heat retention (heat, along with appropriate moisture quantity will accelerates the breakdown of the organic matter). Lighter colored and well ventilated bins can be used as a holding container, so that when sufficient quantities are achieved, the material can be transferred to an accelerated bin. Certain ratios will be needed to support these different purposes and will be covered later.