Kill them with kindness. This can happen quickly if you don’t fertilize your plants or vegetables with "real" compost. But what exactly is compost? And what are the important factors you should consider in your plant care routine when it comes to compost? Today we share our compost know-how with you.
Dosage tip: Add your compost in a 1:10 ratio to your peat-free flower and plant soil. Why peat-free? Peat extraction from bogs comes at the expense of the climate, as they are excellent CO2 reservoirs.
Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar. Du findest ihn hier. (Links to our German blog post)
1. The definition of compost
Roughly speaking, compost is the end product of a composting process. This happens all the time in nature — in forests, meadows, fields, and everywhere else you can imagine. It means that organic matter, like the rest of your apple, has been processed by microorganisms. These microorganisms are naturally present in all foods and play an essential role in converting organic matter into important minerals for plants.
There are different levels of compost. During the early stages of composting, only some of the raw materials are processed into nutrients. It isn’t until late in the process when all organic matter is finally converted into minerals that promote plant growth. Normally this process takes several weeks. With KALEA, we have combined this natural process with innovative technology. This means that the composting process described above takes only 48 hours. But how can you tell that the compost is of the right quality?
2. Dried organic waste is not compost and can even be toxic
Avoiding waste by using a kitchen composter is a great thing. But at the same time, there are some products on the market that simply shred and dry your organic waste instead of producing real compost. Actually, this should then be disposed of in the organic waste bin because it can be harmful to your plants. Dried organic waste has no microbiological activity because most appliances use high temperatures at which microorganisms can die. The outcome? No microorganisms = no nutrients.
You could mix dried organic waste into your soil, however, it then takes up to 4 weeks until positive results in the plant growth can be seen. But be careful. In some cases, the use of dried organic waste can also cause mold and inhibit plant growth. Moreover, the long composting time in the soil means that your plants wait far too long for important nutrients. In addition, rewatering dried organic waste can trigger an anaerobic decomposition that releases methane gas. This gas is more dangerous for the environment than carbon dioxide, and of course, just as dangerous for your plants.
3. Real compost loses volume
When handled correctly, the composting process reduces the weight, volume, and
the water content of your kitchen waste along with killing off harmful organisms. As a general rule of thumb, properly composted waste loses about 85% of its volume and should be somewhat moist. So if you have an appliance that only slightly reduces the volume, you can be sure that no proper composting process has taken place. When you hold the compost in your hands, it shouldn’t be dripping wet, but not too dry either. Very fresh compost, like what you get directly after processing in KALEA, will also be slightly warm.
4. Compost has superpowers
Compost has so many positive effects on your plant soil. For example, it promotes diversity in soil by enriching it with important nutrients and minerals. Compost can also help your soil retain moisture. By building up the nutrient composition, compost-rich "soil" holds moisture much better than dry, less nutrient-rich soil. The same applies to air circulation: Adding compost to solid soil will provide more “space” for air.
5. Quality rather than quantity
Compost can improve soil quality because its nutrients are “ready” to be processed by organisms found in soil. This means that your plants won’t have much trouble absorbing important nutrients from the soil through their roots. On average, you should fertilize every two to three weeks during the sunny spring to autumn months. Some plants need more compost power, others a little less. It’s important to give your plants a regular supply of compost so they can grow evenly.