Compost Tea [part 1]: How to Make Compost

Welcome to the Grok Shop! In this video
we’ll be talking about compost and using compost for your garden or to make
compost tea. Either way, this video will be applicable.
So now, if you’re going to grow organic – and you should –
and of course organic means not using man-made fertilizer or insecticides in
your garden and fruit orchards or whatever you might be growing, compost is
really a must. Compost is like the foundation of it all. With compost you
get all the good nutrients in organic material that continues to break down
and feed microorganisms which are by and large beneficial and using compost you
can make compost tea to further keep adding natural fertilizer to the soil
throughout the growing process. If you have soil compaction, like clay soil,
compost can help it drain better. If you have sandy soil, compost can help retain
moisture. It also helps balance pH levels. The list
just goes on and on. I mean, there’s really no question about it, you just
pretty much have to compost and besides all that – it’s environmentally sound. It’s
nature’s recycling plant and the little bugs and critters do all the work for
you! So, pretty much, it’s compost for the win. In our household, we use the bin and
heap system. So, we have a little bin in our kitchen and a big… a couple of big
heaps outside. I kind of like this bin here. We still have an old beater plastic
bin but we’re thinking about maybe upgrading to something like this. If
anybody’s tried it out, let me know in the comments below. I’ll link that in the
description. So here you can see the two big heaps. We have one that’s open for
processing – or accepting new material – and that would be the one on the right right
now, and then the one on the left would be closed for
processing; in other words we’re taking compost out of it to use in the garden
or to make compost tea. And as you can see it’s almost used up. So, of course there’s
other ways to do it you could just get something like this plastic drum that
you rotate. You don’t even need a bin in the kitchen you can just carry your
scraps out directly put them in the drum and rotate them so clearly one big
advantage of these drums is it’s easier to turn the compost which is something
that you have to do. The heap system requires a little more elbow grease. I’ll
share the link to this one below. So, of course when you put your compost onto
your heap (if you’re using the heap system), you want to make sure to cover it
up good with some good carbon-containing materials. Leaves would be a good example of
that (I mean, carbon-dominant material). So, basically you have greens and browns, is
what people call them but it’s… browns are carbon dominant and greens are less so;
they have more nitrogen typically than the browns but by keeping some browns on
top you keep the odor down and it’s almost like a protective layer for it
processing okay so what about all the technical details right you know I’m
gonna leave that up to some web pages I’ll put some links to a couple of my
favorite ones below one is this University of Illinois page where they
talk about things like yeah you you you want to get a higher temperature in
certain cases but you don’t always need to reach that 160 or whatever talk about
how great earthworms are and just other details on the science behind it and
then this one’s a little more of a layman’s term type page but I like this
page they break down the ratio they propose a two to one green to brown
ratio for a batch pile and in a one-to-one ratio for for add as you
go pile which is kind of how I do it but then you can see all the different types
of plants that qualify is green or brown and what type of waste would be green or
brown and etc etc I’ll put links to both of these below and I think they’re
pretty helpful of course there’s other sites out there as well you can hit up
for more details so yeah everybody talks about hot
composting getting your pile up to 160 degrees but there’s also such a thing as
cold composting where basically you don’t really worry about the temperature
and you let it cook it might get a little warm
and you don’t necessarily have to monitor it but everything does
eventually break down it’s good to have the heat for certain reasons like
killing weed seeds and whatnot you can always use an oven to pasteurize if you
need to now if you want to be real technical with your pile you can get one
of these compost thermometers and monitor the temperature of your pile and
I’ll put a link to this one below but they can be helpful if you’re into that
that’s just not how I do it I found this quote from this guy on the forum and
it’s pretty simple way to go you know don’t worry too much about all the
details if it smells you have too much nitrogen add some Browns and give it a
toss if it’s not warming you need more greens add those and give it a toss and
etc etc I like that approach it’s more or less kind of how I do it so yeah here
you can see I’m turning the compost this is how you do it in a heap little elbow
grease like I said you want to get the wet stuff on top and dry stuff down
below you use a shovel pitchfork cultivator pretty much whatever you got
but it could be a little bit back-breaking sometimes an alternative
way I found to do this is to use an auger on a cordless drill basically you
know the idea is aerate the soil try to get some of that
wet stuff to move up so of course this isn’t as effective as turning the whole
pile with a shovel or something but it is effective at getting air down into
the compost this can be pretty compacted with moisture and that tends to slow the
whole process down when those microorganisms can get the oxygen they
need to operate so this just basically keeps you cooking at full speed laughter I dump my compost bin always
like rinse it out and take that dirty water and just put it right back on the
compost heap if you have one of those nice stainless
steel bins it should clean up a lot better than this old bucket but oh
that’s not quite giving up the ghost yet we’ll keep going with it so speaking of keeping your heaps wet
you may want to consider automating the watering process that’s what I’ve done I
basically put some quarter inch tubing around each side so each big heap has
two misters I got these flexible drip misters hook and that works out pretty
good I’ll put links to these misters below if you can turn it while it’s
watering even better but basically you want to get that water evenly
distributed throughout the pile those decomposer microorganisms depend on
water and the organic material to be dissolved in water in order to process
it that’s how it’s done thanks for watching

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