Compost for Herb Garden

Making and using compost for the herb garden is a good idea especially if your garden soil is sandy and deprived of nutrients. I have been told that herbs do not require composts and they do well without fertilizers in general. However; I have found that my herbs grow really well with homemade compost. They do welcome the organic mulch and grow better.

My milkman who owns cows makes compost of cow dung and my experience with this compost is good. Not only is it free from chemicals, there is no danger of plants dying due to overdose of fertilizers that are heavy on potassium and nitrogen.

The Process of Composting

Composting is a natural process during which the decaying matter is returned to the earth as nutrients by decomposition. Micro-organisms that help break the waste require oxygen to function well. The recycling of organic wastes back into the cycle is essential for the life cycle of plants to complete.

There are millions and millions of micro-organisms that carry out the bio-degradation and transform dead plants, foliage and other waste to healthy and hearty soil ingredients. The process of decomposing in nature can take from months to year.

To expedite the process, human intervention is necessary. You can easily make your own organic compost from food scraps and kitchen waste. With a small investment you can make the mulch with a compost bin or just use a convenient space for making manure. With some effort and time, you can do it in your own backyard thus cutting down the need of purchasing fertilizer.

What to add in compost?

The ingredients of the home-made compost are green and brown matter. Naturally you will need a substantial amount to start, for that, collect your organic waste for a few days. Make sure that you place it appropriately, so that there is no stink.

Following gives an idea of what can be used for making compost.

Green Matter
For green ingredient you can use the following –

  • Kitchen scraps such as vegetables,
  • Discarded veggies skin,
  • Cooked food – e.g. bread, outdated food
  • Uncooked – e.g. grains etc
  • Chicken or cow manure
  • Used tea leaves and tea bags with clip removed
  • Grass clippings
  • Brown matter

  • Wood
  • Egg shells
  • Sawdust
  • Fireplace wood ash if you have one
  • Hay
  • Straw, leaves
  • Clean paper
  • What should not be added in the compost?

  • No metal such as aluminium, copper, iron etc
  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Dairy products such as butter, milk, curds, eggs and cream
  • Painted wood
  • Charcoal ash
  • Pet poop such as dog and cat waste
  • Stickers
  • Fat, grease and oil
  • How to make Organic Compost?

    Step 1 – Mix 3 parts of brown matter to 1 part of green matter. Make sure that you chop the big items. An ideal compost pile consists of varying size of waste arranged in alternate layers.The height of the layers should at least be10 inches. As the decomposition starts, the temperature rises and on a cold day you might even see vapour rising from the heap.

    Step 2 – Every time you add constituents, turn over the layers unless you have an automatic turner that provides aeration.

    Step 3 – When the compost becomes dark brown or black in colour and does not smell, it is ready for use. You can filter the few big chums that did not decompose back into the new heap.

    It will be prudent to mention that compost is not a substitute for soil and it should not be used for growing plants. It has to be mixed with soil in appropriate proportions to give the desired results.