Let me tell you, while I am writing this article, a bag of compost is sunbathing in the corner of my garden. The pile is getting ready to help plants grow, protect them from pests, and enrich the soil. It also traps moisture but is everything compost ”eligible”?
However, not everything is compostable, but corn cobs and husks are sustainable and can be used for composting. Corn waste composting is a suitable and environmentally friendly way to dispose of.
Get along, and you will get an idea of how to compost corn and its pros and co(r)ns.
Which parts of corn are ”eligible” for composting?
Compositing has become an integral part of plant lovers’/gardener’slovers’/gardener’s lives. Chemical-free agricultural and horticulture practices are encouraged among communities and promoted by the companies. Although it has numerous advantages but the two primary purposes that should grab your attention are-
- It reduces food waste
- It is safe for the environment and humans
Composting naturally recycles the food waste and plant waste under aerobic conditions into organic material, and this serves as a natural and effective fertilizer for plants. You are free to use kitchen waste, food scraps, etc., to prepare your own compost pile.
Corn has the compostable husk, cob, and stalk; however, corn cob needs more time to compost than corn husks.
Check this my other quick article to know if composting corn is possible.
How to compost corn parts?
Compost is a cost-effective solution to avoid corn cobs filling up land. It is possible to compost corn cobs, stalks, husks, and even leaves; however, they are also known for other advantages if added to the compost pile that we will discuss later. Common composting rules apply the same way, but the following are ”things to remember-
1. Open space with optimum sunlight and proper drainage are important aspects of composting.
2. Experts suggest a ratio of 4:1 of the compost pile from brown to green. Brown parts of waste are dry with low moisture content, whereas the green part creates an ideal compost environment with the moisture content.
3. Longer corn cobs require more time to decompose; therefore, cut corn cobs into smaller pieces to speed up the decomposition rate. Just be careful while cutting them; we care for you and the environment equally.
4. Always remember to check out on compost preparation, lift and turn once in two to five days to help it aerate.
5. Make sure to spray water on the compost pile. Don’tDon’t drench it otherwise; be ready to face unpleasant odors. A dried compost pile will prevent the further process of breaking down and delay decomposition.
How do we compost different parts of corn?
Corn is widely used for its nutritional composition and taste. High demands lead to high yield, and the leftovers of corn, especially corn cobs and husk, end up in landfills. Composting is a biodegradable method to utilize the nutrients in enriching the soil. It also promotes chemical-free practices. Learn how to compost three essential parts of corn without hustling-
Corn cobs do not break down easily, and they need at least two months to decompose completely. The good part is that cooked corn cobs not only retain moisture but also decompose faster than dried ones.
Experts consider corn cobs ideal for composting due to their non-sugary and odorless characteristics. In fact, rotten corn cobs are also perfect for composting.
Corn cobs release nutrients slowly yet steadily, which provides soil supplements for a longer period. The pockets in which corn is attached serve as ”home” for moisture, heat, and microorganisms to stimulate ideal conditions for degradation. You are suggested to turn the compost daily and let them rest downwards in a pile.
Corn husks are the essential outer layer of corn that protects it. However, it is inedible and is discarded before cooking corn. Husks protect the corn developing corn from insects and disease; hence, it has properties of fertilizers and pesticides. Leaves and husks are good sources of nitrogen.
Fresh ”green” husks and ”brown” husks can both be added to compost. They easily degrade, are rich in nutrients, and build up immunity against pests when added to the soil. Although the green husks are rich in nitrogen, experts say, it is responsible for smelly compost. In contrast, brown husks are carbon-rich and certainly more suitable for composting. They also help you save a lot over additional use of fertilizer. Good for your pockets!
Corn stalks are a good source of carbon, help to replenish the soil, and prevent soil erosion. Corn stalks need to be dried and chopped into smaller sizes before adding them to the compost pile, and you can use your regular garden shredder to chop them.
Corn stalks ensure proper aeration and resist compaction. As per the U.S Department of Agriculture, the corn stalk is a rich source of fiber, mostly used in the paper or pulp industry.
What are the advantages of corn compost?
Composting is an environmentally friendly approach to restoring soil health and feeding plants chemical-free supplements. Following are the advantages of going for corn composting-
1. Millions of corn cobs end up in landfills that acquire space for the next 15-20 years. Corn composting on a domestic and or industrial level can help with free space and less waste.
2. Every part of the corn is biodegradable food waste, and as it’s odorless, it won’t suffocate the surroundings and won’t create a mess.
3. Due to high concentrations of carbon, nitrogen, and fibers, corn compost is an ideal fertilizer for gardens and farms.
4. They provide growing beds to microorganisms that participate in composting.
5. You can use corn cobs in more than one batch of compost. As it requires more time to compost, you can collect the compost and add the non-composted leftovers to the next fresh batch.
6. Carbon is a necessary element for the health of the soil, and corn cob composting helps to balance the elements in the process.
7. As corn cobs have air pockets, they work as storage houses for heat, moisture, etc., as we discussed above.
8. Corn composting enhances soil quality, improves the product’s texture, and increases the quality of the soil.
9. It makes the perfect blend of benefits as organic fertilizer with benefits for human health.
Disadvantages of corn cob compost
Heaps of corn cob dried or rotten are capable of producing methane due to anaerobic decomposition. If they are left behind in the landfill, corn cobs produce a high amount of carbon dioxide gases.
How to manage corn cobs?
There is no foul smell; no traces of organic material testify that compost is ready to be used as corn cob requires time to degrade, so it might be possible for you to find them as they were.
You can use the prepared compost with soil as desired. However, you don’t have to worry about corn cobs that did not make it up there. Since corn cobs support the compost pile by providing structure aeration, you can add them to the next batch of a compost pile for further degradation. You can repeat this until they are fully degraded in brown-colored crumble to powder.
Or you can simply place the corn cobs as it is under the layer of garden soil, and this will lead to the slow and continuous release of nutrients into the soil. Corn cobs are plentiful in micro-minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, nitrogen, and phosphorus that are released naturally and absorbed as required by the soil and plants.
Top 5 things to remember while composting corn
The basic idea of composting is to prevent kitchen waste from landing in landfills. The process of converting selected food scraps into compost is easy and efficient. The effect of composting promotes green living ideas up to an extent. To give you a quick sneak peek, here are the top 5 things you should remember while composting-
1. The compost bin should have proper drainage.
2. Add organic material as much as you can. You can add layers of green and brown one by one, and small pieces increase the rate of decomposition. (Point to be noted- keep the uppermost layer of browns to avoid flies.
3. Avoid using chemical treatment-dependent plants (chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides).
4. Maintain the moisture levels. Too much dryness will inhibit the process of decomposition, and if you drench it with water, it might lead to a foul smell and inappropriate rotting.
5. Regular aeration, the micro-buddies working for decomposition need regular oxygen to fuel up. Roll it upside down twice a week, and that’s it.
Significance of composting
The United States Environmental Protection Agency manages and promotes eco-friendly practices among people. They encourage sustainable practices and release beginner-friendly writer-up for a better understanding of practices that can, up to some extent, save the environment. If you are planning to start composting at home, read here techniques with dos and don’ts.
As a large mass of the population depends on agriculture, it is important to grow healthy and eat nutritious food. However, the overpowering market of chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides is ruling the agriculture sector. The impact of chemical usage and greenhouse gases has successfully targeted human life, directly or indirectly. The air we are inhaling and the food we are eating are not as nutrition-rich or pure as it was a decade back.
Organic agriculture maintains soil efficacy and health. It consistently improves the quality of crops and protects them from pests by building the immunity of plants.
The traditional approach of gardening and agro-industry targeted to track and improve the health of crops rather than track and kill different pests a crop could have (that has now made pests resistant to pesticides).
Composting at the domestic and industrial levels plays a crucial role in opting for sustainable practices in day-to-day activities. It encourages communities to work with a dual approach- for humans and for the planet.
Effects of temperature on corn compost
Recent research signifies that high-temperature treatment in comparison with low temperature shows a positive impact on compost. It improved the quality and reduced the composting time in corn cobs.
What is the need for composting?
The era of technology and fast life has raised concerns as symptoms of earth’s suffering are now showing up. Excessive use of chemical treatments in agricultural practices is not unknown. Over the years, these chemical treatments might have produced higher yields, but they are equally responsible for decreasing soil health.
Soil quality and health play a significant role in the growth and development of any crop or plant. As we are at the end of the food cycle, consumption of chemical treatment and crops grown in unhygienic conditions are affecting our life negatively. Nutritional deficiency, increasing percent of anemia, and stomach and intestine disease have faced the food which was not naturally treated.
Another issue with agricultural practices is the management or disposal of crop residue. The part that is not edible or cannot be used for cattle needs to be disposed of. If it ends up in landfills, it might lead to releasing harmful gases over some time with a slower rate of decomposition.
The solution is, composting or organic fertilizer and pesticides. Crop residues in agricultural fields are common, and a small and dedicated unit for composting crop residue solves the problem of management and decomposition. Additionally, the compost obtained from this unit can be used in the field for the next cycle of crops, and this will restore the quality of the soil and make it full of nutrients.
Farmers and gardeners can also set up a professional business unit and sell finished product/compost to earn a side income or as a main income.
Every part of the corn is suitable for compost in different ways; however, researchers say it takes approximately 15 to 18 years to decompose corn cobs in landfills. The next time you see corn on your plate, try to compost the cob, the husk, and the stalk. Create some compost piles, and make people aware by educating them about it. Give them free packets of corn compost, if possible, and let them explore ways to live a more eco-friendly life that can make the earth smile.