Different types of composting – DIY garden fertilizer

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By Luke Moran-Pedersen

Composting is a big fun adventure that has so many benefits.  But did you know there are three different types of DIY composting? These methods include aerobic, anaerobic, and vermicomposting. They all have their ups and downs but in the end, it is still compost!

The most common way to compost organic material into usable fertilizer is to make use of the naturally occurring bacteria and fungi that use the material as food and energy.  All you have to do is ensure your pile has enough water, food, and air. You can leave the rest of the job to the ever-helpful fungi and bacteria.  Keep reading to learn the main types of DIY composting systems.

Aerobic composting

backyard aerobic composting

The types of microbes you want to inhabit your composter are aerobic, meaning they need oxygen to thrive and live.  You can make sure they have enough air by turning it over with a rake, also known as aerating the compost heap.  Another way to ensure there is good air circulation is to add a material such as wood chips or hay. Both are bulky and are not easily compressed, which makes sure the air can get in and do its job.

Anaerobic composting

compost bucket

The other kind of microbes that can convert your waste are anaerobic, meaning they do not need oxygen to survive.  You can compost anaerobically in a bucket or even a plastic bag. This option may sound like a great alternative to not having to worry if enough air is available.  But, the unpleasant side effect of having anaerobic microbes in your compost bin is the smell. It stinks!  Without enough air, there will be a distinct rotting smell coming from your bin.  

Vermicomposting

vermicomposting worm compost

Another type of composting is to use red worms to help decompose the organic waste.  This form of composting is known as vermicomposting.  The red earthworms can quickly turn your table scraps into compost.  To help the process along, it is recommended that you chop or cut the organic material you add to the composter first.  This is an optional step but will yield faster results.  Only food scraps, paper, or yard waste is recommended for this type of composting. You can purchase the red worms at your local pet or fishing supply store – these are not the same worms that you find crawling in your backyard.

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