What to Look for in a Compost


Compost, also called black gold or natural fertilizer, is obtained as a result of the decomposition or grinding of animal and vegetable wastes. Compost is not a direct substitute for manure. However, since compost contains nutrients that give soil fertility, its contribution to maintaining the soil’s structural order and pH balance is enormous. It is possible to obtain a very high-quality fertilizer when certain additions are made to the compost.

Did you know, chief, that the amount of garbage produced by a person in city life is approximately 1.5 kg per day? Moreover, approximately 50% – 60% of this amount is organic waste suitable for composting. This amount increases even more when it comes to professional kitchens. In short, we can take an important step towards protecting nature by efficiently using only a small part of the waste we produce.

So, what to look for in a compost? What are the 4 important ingredients to have a successful compost? What does successful compost look like? What should you not put in compost? How often should I turn my compost? Why is my compost full of flies? Let’s take a look at the answers to these questions together.

What Are the 4 Important Ingredients to Have a Successful Compost?

what to look for in a compost, trash

What to look for in a compost? Organisms that will decompose organic waste require four elements to take action; nitrogen, carbon, air, and water. Since all solubles contain carbon with varying proportions of nitrogen, composting succeeds with the right combination of materials to achieve the best balance of carbon and nitrogen and air and water.

The ideal carbon-nitrogen ratio for a compost pile is 25 to 30 units of carbon per nitrogen. If too much carbon-rich material is in the pile, composting will take longer and produce a dry result. Too many nitrogen-rich materials will result in a leaner, wet, and fragrant result.

“Greens” for Nitrogen

what to look for in a compost, seedling

Nitrogen, one of the building blocks of life, is indispensable for the growth and reproduction of plants and animals. If you include fresh ‘green’ organic materials in your compost pile, you can create an environment where solvents can grow and reproduce quickly. For this, you can put cut grass clippings, food waste, and coffee grounds in your home compost.

“Browns” for Carbon

You can find carbon in brown plants, which is essential for all life forms. Carbon is a food source for solvents and keeps them alive as they break down waste. You can refer to withered leaves, branches, shoots, and paper for classic browns. You can achieve the ideal carbon-nitrogen balance in your home compost with 2 to 4 brown materials for each green material.

Oxygen and Water

what to look for in a compost, chemical

Finally, like all living organisms, solvents need oxygen and water to survive. To ensure an accelerated home composting process, you must maintain the correct balance of oxygen and water in your compost system. You can achieve proper airflow by layering the materials.

You should break the ingredients into small pieces and mix the pile regularly. The ideal moisture content of the compost pile should be approximately that of a wrung sponge. Your compost will be wet enough if you have put nutrient waste in your pile; if not, you can add water.

What Does Successful Compost Look Like?

what to look for in a compost, vegetable

Compost means separating dead or waste living things in nature and turning them back into soil rich in minerals and nutrients. It may sound complicated when you put it like that, but in fact, we experience the same thing when we see our wastes turn into such fertile soil, just as we are satisfied when we grow a plant and see a flower bloom.

Just as we don’t need a garden to grow plants, we don’t need a huge area to compost. We can reserve a place for this on our balconies and try to make compost at home with our children, observing an ecological and natural process, and we can grow natural plants. It is a good opportunity for us to do such experiments with our children, to increase their awareness, develop our social consciousness, and leave a good future for them.

what to look for in a compost, power

There are many ways to make compost at home, such as hot and cold methods. The most straightforward and least risky of these are cold compost: In short, we place our wastes, which we separate as green and brown materials, on top of each other and ensure that they decompose correctly.

Compost process: While our organic wastes, which we separate as green and brown, are transformed, they release nitrogen (N) and carbon (C), respectively. Composting begins when the correct C: N ratio (30:1) is reached.

  • Green materials (N) vegetable, fruit waste, green leaves, tea waste, egg shells, bread, coffee scraps, filters, and so on.
  • Brown materials (C) dry leaves, stems, branches and bark, nut shells, sawdust, and wilted flowers (dry waste that we can easily find on the street, in front of our house). Don’t forget other organic waste such as cotton, napkins, newspapers, magazines, hair, nails, and animal hair.
  • Wastes to avoid: citrus peels (used sparingly as they are highly acidic), leftover meat, chicken, fish, bones, shellfish, dairy products (produce odors and host other microorganisms), waste oils, cooking oils, metal, fabric, animal litter.

What Not to Put In Compost?

what to look for in a compost, process

What to look for in compost to make a successful compost? It is crucial for both the compost and our health that we do not include mostly inorganic ingredients in our compost, especially cooking oil, oily and cooked meals, and spoiled foods.

Coffee and Tea Bags

Tea and coffee grounds must be removed from their bags and included in the compost. In particular, it would be appropriate not to add these materials to compost, for which we do not have any information about the instant/teabags, what kind of substances are used in their production, and how long they can be transformed.

Meat and Fish

Meat and fish, especially in hot environments, can deteriorate rapidly and create a harmful environment. However, on the other hand, the smell they emit may not be very suitable for the compost you will prepare, especially on the balconies.

Citrus and Onions

what to look for in a compost, hands

Vegetables and fruits constitute the main content of our compost, with a few exceptions, such as citrus peels, fruits such as pears and peaches, and foods such as onions that will increase the acidity of the compost. Due to the effect of these ingredients, the microorganisms in the compost may be exposed to a highly acidic structure, and your compost may become weak. For this reason, it is useful not to add foods such as lemon peel and onions to your compost as much as possible.

Dog and Cat Feces, Hair, Feathers

It is not recommended to use cat and dog feces in compost because of possible parasites in the feces of cats and dogs that we feed in our homes, especially in the feces of animals that feed mainly on meat, and for the plants to be fed with compost water afterward, and therefore us, to be affected by parasites.


Organic fertilizers that feed the soil best dissolve quickly, in harmony with nature, without inorganic additives or agents. Artificial fertilizers include many inorganic elements in this transformation. Heavy metals, agents, etc., in artificial fertilizers. additives will inevitably melt into the subsoil water layer. Meanwhile, other compounds may disrupt the soil’s chemical balance and negatively affect its salinity and evaporation process.

Glass, Plastic, and Fabric

The dissolution of glass and plastic takes a lot of time. Most types of plastic can cause the spread of harmful substances depending on the environmental conditions.

How Often to Turn Compost

what to look for in a compost, pro

For a healthy compost, it is necessary to maintain a balance of humidity and air. Maintaining a balance between air and moisture balance is the first point. The structure of a correct compote is moist and has the consistency of a sponge. Another, cold compost, is made for at least 6 months. It varies according to climatic conditions or the type of material used.

This compost time slows down in cold weather. After adding brown and green material on top of each other, composting is expected. Covering it completely with a carbon-containing material is the trick of this process. Bad odors are also prevented. Hot compost is known to be a faster method, but it is more likely to be trial and error. A space of 1 cubic meter and a thermometer are required. Soil is sprinkled at the bottom of the bucket.

The available materials are stacked on top of each other until they reach 15 cm, one brown and one green. In hot compost, it can go up to 77 degrees in the first days. Then it goes down to 43 degrees below. By the end of a month, the temperature drops to 29 degrees, and it is ready for use after resting for two weeks.

Compost should be mixed two to three days apart. After this mixing process takes approximately 20 to 30 days, the compost becomes ready. After 2 to 3 months, it becomes ready for use as a fertilizer. It should be brown. It should also have an earthy scent.

Why Is My Compost Full of Flies?

what to look for in a compost, soil

Making compost can sound complicated. However, it is a very easy process as long as you pay attention to a few tricks. What to look for in compost, and how to do compost at home? All you have to do is do a little gardening. Compost can become an indispensable part of daily life, like a trash can and a way of life where you constantly evaluate the waste from the kitchen.

First of all, if you have a garden, decide where you want to install the compost. Let this be a semi-sun area easily accessible from the house, around which you can move freely. You can start with one compost, but leave ample room for a few compost bins in case it grows over time. What to look for in a compost?

You don’t necessarily need a garden to make compost; You can also place it on the balcony. Ready-made compost bins are sold, but they are also quite easy to make at home—drill holes in an oversized bucket or trash can. To prevent flies and insects from entering, you can stretch a fly wire inside the hive and close the holes from the inside.

High nitrogen content and green materials will attract flies to your compost. After mixing and covering the carbon-containing materials (paper, twigs, straw, etc.), you should cover them with a fly-proof cover that does not completely prevent airflow.

It would be wrong to say that composting does not create odors. Although the end product of the process does not produce odors, composted items can sometimes produce a very pungent odor. Until you start composting, active ingredients such as manure, sewage sludge, and food waste can cause odor, especially if stored for a long time. In addition, incorrect process management creates odor. Thus, you may encounter the fly problem.


what to look for in a compost, help

By not composting many recyclable wastes, we are turning our backs on the soil and indirectly on the sources of life. Not only that, we increase the fossil fuels used in garbage transportation, the methane gas created by uncontrolled garbage heaps, the toxic water emitted into the environment, the odor, and the risks of many dangers that will come with it. Considering that it takes hundreds of years for a one-cm soil layer to form, the extent of the danger becomes clearer.

However, by making compost, it is possible to utilize our organic wastes, improve the soil structure, increase the nutrient ratio in the soil for plants and reduce the negative effects I have mentioned above. Taking responsibility within our means is an important task for all of us, both for ourselves and future generations.

If we do not leave nature alone and not allow it to beautify, we should take it upon ourselves to turn the materials. We throw in the trash for compost benefits and present them back to nature, which is the easiest way to start with food waste, which is the closest problem because we all want a more livable and sustainable environment.

You may also be interested in:

What is the Difference Between Compost and Fertilizer?

5 Best Bagged Compost for Gardening

Fishnure 8-pound Odorless Organic Humus Compost Review

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