How to Make Fertilizer: Using Compost as Lawn Fertilizer
Using compost as lawn fertilizer can help soil, grass, animals and the environment. Compost provides nutrients that are vital to lush, green lawn growth and contain the nutrients found in commercial fertilizers such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous and other minerals. Here is our guide on creating a composting system and using it to feed your lawn and soil.
You will need a bin or storage system for your compost
You can either purchase a compost bin, or you can build your own. When purchasing a composting bin you can either buy a standard black bin (black attracts heat which speeds up the composting process), or you can buy a tumbler, which rotates the compost, further speeding up the composting process. If you decide to build your own compost be sure there are tiny holes or openings to make sure there is proper air flow.
Fill the bottom with leaves (or newspaper) and soil
Filling the bottom of your bin with organic material and soil will help start the composting process.
Start filling your bin
Start filling your compost with kitchen items and organic matter. Green items are the ones rich in nitrogen and are a huge part of your composting program. Some important green items to include are:
Fruit and vegetable peels
Tea leaves and/or bags
Corn (both cob and husk)
Dead plants, Weeds that haven’t seeded
Even though brown items aren’t nitrogen-rich, they are equally as important as they provide necessary structure and aeration for your compost. Always be sure to break pieces down as small as possible. Here are some examples of brown items you can add to your compost:
Used coffee filters
Napkins, toilet paper, paper towel
Of course there are hundreds of items you can add to your compost, but use that list as a guide to get you started.
Other necessary components needed for composting
Air, water, and heat
As I mentioned previously, you must have some type of hole system in your bin to allow for proper air circulation. Also, try adding more browns than greens if you’re experiencing a vinegar-like smell or if your compost is becoming slimy. Your compost pile should always be moist – not wet – but it should definitely be fairly damp. You can add your own water yourself or you can add more of the green items to create more moisture. Your compost pile should definitely be warm or hot to the touch. As mentioned before, you can encourage this by purchasing a black compost bin. If you have compost which doesn’t feel warm or hot, consider adding more greens to increase heat.
Turning your pile
If you haven’t purchased a tumbler-style compost bin, be sure to manually turn your compost frequently. You can use anything to turn it such as a shovel or pitch fork. I find a pitch fork works best. Turning the pile helps your compost decompose at an increased rate and can promote a better smelling compost.
Spreading your compost
Depending on the composting method you use, the bin, climate, and materials you place in your compost, all come in to play when determining when your compost is ready to be distributed on your lawn. Composting can take from as little as a few weeks to as long as a few years. However, if you’re continually adding material to your compost, you can purchase a type of screen and sift through the broken down material and separate the chunks which haven’t been broken down yet and place them back into your compost. Now when you think you have some pretty good compost, spread your compost on your lawn to use as lawn fertilizer and gently work it into the ground with a rake – being sure to do this gently as to not ruin existing grass.
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