COMPOST? WE MAKE IT OURSELVES, NATURALLY!

COMPOSTER 310, COMPOSTER 660 AND MODULAR COMPOSTER 400-600

All organic waste contains precious organic materials that must be given back to nature because the soil needs them for new plants, flowers and fruits. So, let’s keep it and use it to our advantage with the Composter 310, Composter 660 or the Modular Composter 400-600!

The Composter has copied nature and helps it. It is an attractive container that we can all use, in which are created and maintained all the ideal conditions for decomposition — a completely natural process — to take place rapidly, safe from the negative effects of climatic conditions.

Depending on the season, only a few months are required to “complete a cycle” and obtain a rich compost. You can easily tell when a compost is mature. A mature compost looks and feels like a dark, soft, spongy soil, with the typical smell of “undergrowth”: a prized, nutrient-rich and completely natural fertilizer made only with the waste materials we choose ourselves. It is easy to make and safe to use, because it is our own compost.

THE GOLDEN RULES TO MAKE AN EXCELLENT COMPOST

The right temperature
The activity of microorganisms during the composting process generates heat, increasing the temperature in the pile. In the first phase, the temperature at the centre of the composting heap is normally in the order of 45° to 55°C, the ideal range for the microbes to carry on their work. Afterwards, there is an intermediate
phase and a final phase in which there is a progressive drop in temperature, until ambient temperature is reached.

The right humidity
Like air, water is essential for the activity of the microorganisms in the compost and must be present in the pile in a proper amount. In fact, if the pile is too dry, microbial decomposition slows down considerably; to prime it again it will be necessary to sprinkle and loosen the heap with the special aerator stick. On the other hand, a waterlogged heap cuts down the oxygen supply, and decomposition will turn into a malodorous decay (due to an anaerobic reaction). In this case, the heap will have to be loosened and mixed with dry matter, like wood shavings, dry leaves and bits of carton. It is absolutely necessary to strike the right balance between water-rich waste and dry waste. Therefore, add into the composter the quantities of waste that will make the heap moist, but not wet. The proper moisture level can be checked with the “fist” test: take a fistful of material and squeeze it hard: if the material holds together without dripping water, the moisture is right; if on the other hand it crumbles, it means it is too dry.

The essential oxygen.
Compost is “live” and therefore needs air. In a compact heap oxygenation is stifled, and the microorganisms responsible for breaking down the organic waste cannot be viable. In the Composter, air enters the container through special slits and flows through the heap; therefore the pile inside the composter must not to be compacted (watch the excess moisture!) but soft and structured: this is made possible by the addition of rougher material such as twigs, chips, leaves, straw, etc.
It is a good practice to periodically turn over or loosen the heap using the special aerator stick in order to favour aeration. Lack of aeration causes the formation of malodorous composts that can be easily avoided by following the above suggestions.

Carbon and nitrogen
The C/N (carbon/nitrogen) ratio is an important factor in the composting process. Carbon-rich materials are a source of nourishing energy for the life of microorganisms, while nitrogen is essential for them to grow and multiply. A proper C/N balance favours a rapid decomposition: if the prevalent material consists of carbon-rich waste such as leaves, twigs, sawdust, etc., the process is very slow due to lack of available nitrogen; this can be solved with the addition of food leftovers. On the other hand, an excessive amount of nitrogen-rich kitchen waste releases excess ammonia and causes bad odours. In this case, it is sufficient to add chopped twigs, leaves, bits of carton, etc., and to mix them into the material to favour oxygenation. The following table shows some average values relative to the carbon/nitrogen ratio of compostable waste materials. The composition of the materials and therefore the correct ratio can be determined by using the data of the table and the following proportion. For good results, the average C/N ratio should be about 25 at the most.