Determining compost readiness
Composting, although not the most difficult, is also a kind of art. In order to get high-quality organic fertilizers, it is necessary not only to collect plant materials and other components in any place, but to observe the technology that allows waste to burn out and mature, turning into the best (and most universal) of organic fertilizers available for the garden. But unexpected difficulties can arise not only in the process of direct compost preparation. Especially if there is not enough experience. However, there are characteristic signs of changes that will tell you that your compost is already in perfect condition.
The compost's readiness for use cannot be determined at a glance or calculated by specific dates. The process of its maturation is affected by dozens of different factors - from its composition to the weather. And in each case, determining whether the compost is well ripened and whether it can be used in its ornamental garden and in the garden is not always easy. In this case, you should never focus on just one of the factors. The fact that compost is completely ready for immediate use is evidenced by several important indicators that distinguish overripe compost from unripe one:
Symptom 1. Plant debris in the compost is already invisible.
Compost is ready for use when you can no longer determine by sight what you put in the compost pit and what the “layers” of the fertilizer are. It acquires a uniform texture and becomes virtually a “solid” fertilizer, in which it is no longer possible to distinguish leaf residues from other materials.
Symptom 2. Odor
Unlike freshly laid, ready-made compost smells very nice. In the process of over-ripening, it is difficult to call a compost hole a fragrant object, and in many respects this is why compost is recommended to be placed on the periphery of the site. But as soon as the compost is ready for use and crossbreeds well, it will acquire a pleasant forest aroma. In a word, the smell of ready-made compost should not cause you any unpleasant sensations. It should significantly change for the better.
Sign 3. Screening without residues
If you still doubt whether your compost is ready for immediate use, then sift a small amount of fertilizer through a sieve. In the finished compost, small crumbs are formed as a result. But if it is still not ripe, then you will clearly notice this from the texture of the residues, or you won’t be able to grind it through the grid at all.
Symptom 4. The absence of worms
In the process of over-heating at elevated temperatures, heat (and free access to food) draws many worms into the compost, which play an important role in the creation of this organic fertilizer. But if at the beginning of the process by the number of worms in your compost pit, you can judge the quality of the decomposition, then after the compost crosses well, they should not remain at all in the compost. Full compost readiness means the absence of undecomposed plant debris, which the worms overgraze and turn into humus. And this means that these largely underestimated inhabitants of our gardens simply do not need to remain in a compost pit. As soon as the worms leave your compost, feel free to start using it.