Are you thinking about growing your own organic vegetable patch? How about making sure your orchids and roses are blooming as they’re supposed to? Maybe it’s time to use the peels from your kitchen, your old coffee grounds, tea leaves and even some milk to make your plants thrive. And if it’s autumn in your area, it’s time to think about gathering those leaves and feeding them to a leaf mulcher so you could make your very own organic compost pit.
But first things first, here is a list of kitchen waste that you could recycle as fertilizers for your organic garden:
Coffee Grounds — Mix 4 parts of water with 1 part of coffee grounds and spray it on your plants once a week. This DIY liquid fertilizer gives your plants nitrogen, magnesium and potassium.
Egg Shells — Grind the egg shells then sprinkle these on your garden. You may also add them to your compost pit, as these are a great source of calcium and potassium.
Milk — Well what do you know? Plants love milk too! Mix 1 part of milk to 4 parts water and water or spray on your plants, once a week. Milk contains protein, which helps plants create nitrogen.
Now that we’ve covered your kitchen, we’ll be giving you ideas on how to make your own compost pit as well.
To make a good compost heap, you’d need:
- An area to store your compost in. If you love building things, then you could build one out of piles of wood, wire mesh and some tarp. Or, if you’re the microwave-zap-everything type of guy (or gal), getting a composter may be a better option.
- Leaves. Lots of them. Then the leaf mulcher to crush the leaves into pulp.
- Manure, preferably from animals that haven’t been given growth hormones or other chemicals.
- Kitchen waste, especially fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells and coffee grounds.
- Urine. If you know somebody who is elderly, or if you’re taking care of family who’s well into their sunset years, they may be using a chamberpot. You could gather the urine from their use of their chamberpots as the pots get full. You may store this in a separate drum and allow it to decompose. Or, if you’ve already started your compost pit, you could keep adding the urine, in lieu of water. Gross, but farmers who use urine do report having the sweetest fruits and the fattest vegetables grow from their fertilizer mix.
- Limestone, wood dust, and charcoal to keep the odors from spreading.
- Compost worms or compost activators, if you prefer to speed up the process.
- Lime, if you have too much vegetable, fruit peel, or if you have pine needles in the mix. Lime makes soil or compost basic/alkaline, so it neutralizes the acid in vegetables, fruits and pine needles.
- Layer the bottom of the pit with leaf mulch. Feed a good amount of leaves into your leaf mulcher. If the leaves from your yard aren’t enough, gather more leaves from your neighbors. They’ll appreciate the help in getting rid of their leaves. Don’t get anything from a black walnut tree, however. It contains juglone, which stops plant growth.
- Top the leaf mulch with animal waste. If you like, you may dry the waste first, to kill the bad bacteria.
- Add a layer of kitchen scraps. Don’t forget the eggshells!
- Top the layers with some urine-soaked soil. If you have a friend who has an animal ranch, the ground the animals live on would be good material for this. If you can’t find urine-soaked soil, your garden soil will do.
- Pour urine to soak the mix, instead of water. The urea from decomposed urine is great for your plants.
- Top the mix with a thick layer of coffee grounds. If the grounds from your kitchen aren’t enough, again, ask the neighbors.
- The last layer should be limestone, wood dust, and charcoal. If you’re concerned about the acid in the vegetable and fruit waste, lime should be added too. These, including the coffee grounds, help inhibit the odors.
Turn your compost every few days to keep mixing them. If the odors keep wafting, just keep covering the compost with charcoal. Don’t add too much lime, as you’ll render the compost alkaline, which would be bad for your plants. If your compost has lime, fruit and vegetables in it, monitor the pH levels to make sure that it remains ideal for your plants (5.2 to 5.5 pH).
Let your compost pit stand for weeks to months. If you made it, with the help of your leaf mulchers, in Autumn, it should be ready for use by Spring! Happy Composting!