The need for compost pits on their dachas is faced by most owners of suburban plots. Compost facilities allow you to solve a variety of domestic problems: it is the disposal of organic waste, and increasing the fertility of all types of soils. The use of compost is environmentally friendly, cost-effective and efficient.
You can not waste your energy and buy composters in specialized stores, or you can make them yourself. However, there are many pitfalls in building a compost pit with your own hands, and only a competently made compost pit will allow you to get quality fertilizer, while avoiding various negative consequences.
Brief content of the article:
Where to start making compost pits?
Pits should be as far away as possible from residential buildings and located on the leeward side, since organic waste has an unpleasant appearance and odor. The recommended distance is at least 30 m from the dwelling.
Do not place pits close to drinking water sources. The optimum distance is 25 meters.
Take into account the peculiarities of the topography. Do not place the pits on high ground: together with precipitation its contents will be spread over the site. It is not necessary to choose the place on the slopes: excessive water reduces the rate of fermentation. The best place is a flat piece of land.
Pay attention to the trees next to the pits. Alder and birch would be good neighbors, but it is better not to put pits next to evergreen trees.
Choose a shaded area to keep the compost properly moist.
Keep in mind the ease of access to the pit and choose the location that works best for you.
Setting up the pit.
Many gardeners prefer not to equip compost pits and tend to use compost piles. The reason is the simplicity of working with compost: it is easier to load the waste, mix and unload the humus. But from an aesthetic point of view, they are unattractive, and the simplicity of working with compost can be achieved for pits, if they are properly arranged.
The compost pit as it is.
Compost takes anywhere from a year to two years to mature. The processing of organics requires access to air, moisture, earthworms and soil organisms, a variety of waste types, and the absence of certain ones. These conditions determine both the optimal locations for compost pits and the variety of types of structures.
The optimal size is determined by the maturation time of the compost. Half of the pit is set aside for fresh waste (not older than two years), and the other half for already mature compost.
An important factor is also the temperature of the compost, which rises to about 60 C due to decomposition. The larger the size, the higher the temperature and the more effectively weeds and pathogens are killed. A proper compost pit has the following parameters: depth – about 1 m, width – 1-2 m, length – up to 3 m.
It is advisable to divide the pit into two sections: one for fresh waste, the other for mature compost. Or into three: for fresh waste, for mature compost and for finished compost.
The bottom of the structure should provide access for moisture and worms. Do not cover it with dense materials like slate, metal sheets or film. Tree bark, needles, straw and branches are good drainage materials.
The top of the pit should be covered, but in a way that allows air access.
There are different designs of compost pits.
The easiest option. All you need to do is dig a hole of suitable size, put drainage material on it, and put the waste on top. The structure is covered with a film, tarpaulin or grass.
If you plan to use the pit for more than one year, it is worth to strengthen its walls by any improvised means – for example, slate, roofing felt, plywood, etc.
The most common option. Most often they are made of wood, but other materials such as slate are also acceptable.
How to make such a compost pit:
- Dig a hole of a given size and depth of up to 80 cm, and then dig support bars
- about 20 cm from the edges of the pit. The timbers should be treated with a protective impregnation;
- assemble the three walls of the box so that sufficient openings are left in them for air (when
- If necessary, drill them), and divide them into two or three compartments;
- install and align the box;
- cover the bottom with drainage material;
- screw on the front wall and cover.
Wooden parts should be treated with a special impregnation, and then covered with acrylic paint in several layers. This will perform not only protective functions, but also decorative: the finished box will look neat and beautiful. A photo of such a compost pit will not be ashamed even to post on the Net.
You can leave only one compartment in the box. To do this, the box is set on an elevation, so that there is about 30 cm between the ground and the bottom edges. Compost will be taken out from below through this hole. Fresh raw material is placed on top.
Essentially a variation of the compost box. Conventional plastic bins require refinement: they do not allow air and moisture to circulate, so you will need to make the ventilation holes yourself. You can buy ready-made garden composters, they are equipped with everything you need to ensure proper compost maturation.
This design can last for many seasons, is easy to use and easy to maintain.
The installation of the structure is also simple:
- dig a hole about a meter deep;
- formwork is constructed along the borders of the pit so that the concrete walls protrude about 1 m above ground level;
- Pour the concrete;
- after the concrete hardens, the formwork is removed and the bottom of the pit is poured with a concrete screed;
- when the screed hardens, construct, if necessary, the inner walls (this can be done with a formwork, wooden boards or other materials) and a cover of mesh-fence and metal frames. When installing the roof of the hopper, it is necessary to leave ventilation holes.
Important point: since the compost in the bunker is not in contact with the soil, it requires periodic watering and replanting of worms in it.
Ingredients for compost.
Let’s figure out what types of waste you need to use to get quality, macro- and micronutrient-rich compost.
Types of waste that are the basis of good fertilizer:
- Grass (including weeds cut before flowering), flowers, straw;
- food waste – vegetable and fruit peelings, berries, cereals, brew, eggshells;
- Leaves, needles, branches, tree bark, sawdust;
- paper (except colored and laminated), cardboard;
- manure and bird droppings.
Additives that improve the quality of compost:
- Phosphorite and dolomite meal, as well as other mineral fertilizers;
- Earth – it should be poured over each subsequent layer of waste, this will increase the rate of fermentation.
You can’t put it in compost:
- Weeds with set seeds, live roots of wheatgrass and horsetail;
- The leaves of plants affected by false powdery mildew and phytophthora, especially tomatoes and potatoes;
- plants treated with herbicides;
- Fruit tree pips;
- excrement of domestic animals;
- Inorganic garbage:
- Protein waste (it exudes a strong unpleasant odor when rotting and attracts animals).
There are a few simple rules to follow that will help you get quality compost more quickly:
- Stir the contents from time to time;
- Maintain moisture levels by watering the compost heap as needed;
- Dry waste should alternate with fresh waste, hard waste with soft waste, brown waste with green waste;
- Do not tamp down the layers too tightly;
- The optimum ratio of dry material to wet material is 5 to 1;
- Occasionally plant worms and add decay gas pedals. Gas pedals are sold in specialized stores in the form of concentrates;
- cow dung and certain kinds of plants (e.g. dandelion, valerian, yarrow and chamomile) also speed up fermentation.
By following these recommendations, you can get an organic and nutrient-rich fertilizer that you can be 100% sure of its quality.
How to make a compost pit
The flower bed type is an irregular flower bed. It differs significantly from its predecessor. First is its longevity, due to the fact that it is formed from different plants. They bloom sequentially, replacing each other, and you can enjoy such beauty during the whole period of flowering. Stages of flowering plants change in a wave-like fashion. In addition to flowering plants you should use evergreen flowers, it helps to keep the bed green all the time.
Photo of the compost pit