In the growing realm of agriculture, farmers associated with small or large-scale farming naturally desire to get fruits, vegetables, and other crops in extremely healthy conditions. During this time, composting comes to help. It refers to the intermixing of certain biodegradable items to reap high-quality fertilizer.
People use these manures to experience better results in their crops. Sometimes, fruits and vegetables prove to be essential ingredients for making them. Not only these items, but their peels can also do wonders if added to the unit. These materials are not necessarily supposed to be bought from the market.
These can include some readily available vegetables and fruits from spinach to broccoli in your refrigerator. Any biodegradable thing can be used to make compost. Spinach is undoubtedly one of the finest sources to obtain fiber. It is a storehouse of many vitamins and other nutrients.
Have you ever wondered if it can be used to make compost? If you have ever given it a thought, this read will be worthy of each second.
Which parts of spinach are apt to be used?
All the parts of this nutritious vegetable can be used to make compost. Its vegetable body and the leafy part both constitute not only the edible charts but also excellent manure.
These segments make up the ‘greens’ commonly referred to as the nitrogen element in the bin. The compost primary has two groups of essential elements throughout the heap.
The first one is called the ‘green’ or nitrogen part, and the other one constitutes the ‘brown’ or the carbon part. Each segment of greens requires thirty segments of browns. This is essential for high fertility and the quality of manure.
Without putting an accurate amount of these substances in the unit, it must be noted that the compost generally takes a long time to crumble down. This is so because the heat inside the bin only gathers up within the middle of the pile if these conditions are taken care of.
On the other hand, while talking about some vital and enriching substances, the greens act as a source of protein, and browns provide affluent carbohydrate nutrients.
Both of these together aid in the development of organic fertilizer. Therefore, spinach as a whole can be used to make compost, and its fibrous structure fastens the procedure.
What is the Procedure to Compost Spinach?
1. Find a place
Before searching for anything, you are required to search for an apt place. This spot should be easily reachable by the composter. If in case, weather conditions worsen, which implies extremes of hotness and coldness. In such weather conditions, the person can easily reach the place and take necessary measures to save the compost.
Suppose it’s a hot sunny day in July in the United States of America, and the temperature is 76 degrees Fahrenheit. In such a case, adding water to the bin becomes essential to avoid the complete drying up of these materials.
On the other hand, if the day is quite rainy, it is important to cover the bin with a shelter to avoid leaching out the unit’s materials. Also, this place should be free from insects and pesticide action. Otherwise, the rodents can invade the area and destroy the growing compost.
2. Gather spinach
After finding the place, gather some spinach veggies. You can use spinach placed in your refrigerator or collect them from a tree (if available).
Just keep one thing in mind these vegetables should be devoid of worms, fungal action, and other diseases. If used, the compost will be demeaned because of the pest and rodents.
After collecting spinach, do not forget to check the leafy outgrowths. This step is of importance because, on a general note, worms can reside on these leaves. Hence, it becomes vital to have a look.
On checking everything on these spinach vegetables, gather these herbs in a clean and dry place. After this, you are good to go towards the next step.
3. Collect the material for browns
As of now, you have collected spinach, and it will account for the greens in your compost. To reap healthy manure, one has to add one part of brown for every 30 parts of carbon in the compost unit. For this addition, browns are unavoidable.
Many sources and materials aid in providing nitrogen to the soil, such as sawdust, twigs, branches, leaves, and thin uncolored papers from newspapers and other magazines. But always use tiny portions of twigs and branches and fragments of newspapers.
This ensures the easy breakdown of substances within the unit, leading to the heating up of materials in the central part, which allows convenient decomposition of the leaves too.
For this purpose, make sure to collect the materials required, which will act as a tremendous source of nitrogen.
4. Use them in a ratio
Relocate all the materials you have collected in step two and step three near the place you found in step one, convenient for composting. Later, add alternate layers of the substances: greens and browns.
The thickness of the spinach layer should be more than that of the dry layer. Do not forget to use a balanced ratio of spinach leaves, twigs, and newspapers inside the bin, which implies that per segment of nitrogen should comprise 30 segments of carbon.
After using them in a moderate ratio, start to make several layers of the materials. These layers should be assembled so that they do not occupy a lot of surface area. Also, they should be easily mixable. The nitrogenous layer must be approximately 8 to 10 inches below the top layer.
5. Add water to the brown or dry layer
While making the layers of greens and browns, you should splash and add an actual amount of water within the dry layer. This is so because humidity acts as an acing factor, and it helps the compost to reap faster.
If water does not put in, the natural phenomenon of breakdown will stop. Hence, decomposition ceases because the dry layers can’t disintegrate into smaller particles without water.
Not only this, but the temperature of these layers and the pile gets regulated by adding an adequate quantity of water. It should be added often, depending on the prevailing weather conditions and humidity in the atmosphere.
6. Cover the bin
After making alternate layers and adding water, cover the bin with the help of a shelter. This is a foremost step because, if avoided, the temperature will not rise inside the bin. This will also prevent the breakdown of materials present in a pile.
Not only this, the shelter will help in keeping the pests and insects away from reaching the compost. If somehow they act upon the pile, the compost will quickly wither away, and the process ceases.
Therefore, to prevent your to-be-made organic fertilizer from the advent of pests, insects, rodents, and other pathogens, keep them covered with the lid or shelter. This also prevents the leaching out of essential materials if heavy rainfall occurs.
7. Keep blending
After covering the bin with a shelter, turning up the material from time to time is essential. For this step, remove the shelter finely and place the lid aside. Later, use a pitchfork or shovel to turn up the material from the sides.
This step should be carried out so that materials at the lower level in a pile come to the top after approximately 3 to 4 weeks. Carry out this process again.
This is to make sure that whole of the pile comes in contact with extreme temperature to be broken down into compost. The pile then experiences heat finely at all the places and spots. Hence, keep blending the pile with the hand shovel or pitchfork.
Do not use bare hands because you can get blisters and burns from touching compost whose temperature is relatively high.
8. Collect the compost
After mixing the material many times every week, when you think that your compost should be ready to use, during this time, collect a big bin separately and relocate yourself near the composting unit.
Open the lid of the unit. Now, if you see dark brown-colored soil from the outer appearance, but some of it in your fingers, and if it gets crumbled down easily without any extra effort from your side, it is ready to be used.
On the other hand, if it is on the verge of crumbling down but doesn’t disintegrate properly, the compost is not prepared as of now.
In such a case, collect the compost, which is ready to be used in a separate container, and keep the leftover fertilizer inside the pile for months or weeks. In this way, your compost can be harvested with ease.
Some precautions to be kept in mind
• Always use shreds of materials like newspapers
Newspapers and other materials act as a great source of nitrogen. They should never be directly used inside the pile. Instead, it is better to make shreds and fragments of these thin papers with the help of a mower or hands.
This results in a lesser surface area within the pile. Not only this but using the shreds make it easy for us to turn up the material after every 3 to 4 weeks with greater efficiency; otherwise, the unsegmented paper will make it almost impossible for us to turn up the materials present underneath.
Also, decomposition will become quite gradual, and at a point, it will stop happening altogether. So, it is necessary to use fragments of such papers.
• Avoid Diseased spinach
The spinach vegetables and leaves that will be used for making compost should be free from worms and other disease-causing pathogens and microorganisms.
Because if, in a rare case, spinach or its leaves with these worms are put in the compost, the natural bacteria present inside them for breaking down these materials will start to fight with the pathogens to survive.
Due to this scarcity of food and oxygen, the compost deteriorates and wilts away.
If this fertilizer is added to another fruit or vegetable plant, the disease will also show up in their progeny from one generation to the next generation.
• Avoid uncooked spinach
While searching for ingredients to put in the bin for making compost, we often collect leftovers present in the refrigerator. Sometimes, these can be cooked with oil and meat substances which should be strictly avoided.
This type of spinach becomes an uncalled invitation to the pests, rodents, and insects. Later, the growth of harmful bacteria and disease-causing microorganisms retard the survival of essential bacteria.
The essential bacteria refers to the microorganisms which initiate and elongate the crucial process of decomposing spinach and other newspapers or leaves. This results in the absence of oxygen throughout the bin. The vital bacteria cannot survive under the conditions of anaerobic respiration.
As a result, the cooked spinach gets invaded by pests, rodents, and microbes, leading to the manure’s denaturing.
• Timely mixing of the material
After making alternate layers of all the substances in the form of greens and browns, it is significant to mix the pile from time to time. On average, one can turn up the materials every four weeks.
This should be done with the help of a pitchfork or shovel and never with their hands. This is so because the compost’s temperature is exceptionally high for decomposition, and on touching it with bare hands, your skin can get harmed from burns and blisters.
Mixing up this material ensures that every inch of the compost gets an equal amount of oxygen, water, and other nutrients. It should be done so that materials present underneath or at the side come to the central part of the bin.
• Keep an eye on the weather
Like temperature, humidity or water amount accounts for another essential factor that helps grow healthy compost. Suppose that on a hot sunny day in July, the temperature is quite high, and there is no chance of rainfall.
In such a case, one has to add water to the bin. Otherwise, the compost just deteriorates and gets wasted due to the onset of pests and other foul smells.
On the other hand, presume that the humidity level becomes far more than the required or optimum level in the bin on a day with high rainfall.
To avoid this, one has to cover the bin with a shelter as soon as possible to prevent the destruction of the compost. Therefore, weather conditions should be kept care of.
From the above information, it is evident that you can easily compost spinach. The compost will be of the desired results and up to your expectations only if you use the correct procedure or method with some precautions in mind.
Spinach composting is not a much famous form of preparing manures, but it indeed accounts for notable and favorable results that one wants to see. It can be said that it is one of the upcoming realms in farming.
If you too want to make good organic fertilizer with little to almost no ingredients, spinach composting can be of great help.