Compost is a natural fertilizer or soil enrichment made from decomposed materials. They are often the go-to fertilizer of most gardeners who wanted to keep their gardens organic.
But the question is, what materials can you use to make compost? There are many options to choose from when you are planning to make compost. One example of that is flowers.
Yes! You can totally make compost out of flowers and it is not a hard thing to do. In fact, flowers are a rich source of carbon that can be used to balance the nitrogen in a compost pile. Flower composting can be performed by almost everyone if they wish to do so.
In this article, we will cover the step-by-step tutorial on how to compost with flowers. Aside from that, you will also learn other relevant stuff related to flower composting.
How to Compost With Flowers
First of all, you need flowers and to prepare them you have to follow these simple steps:
1.Prepare your flowers
Most flowers are fine except those with thorny stems and poisonous ones. Thorny stems take so much time before they decompose compared to non-thorny stems. Poisonous flowers like hemlocks will damage the rest of the compost pile.
2. Separate the petals
After preparing the flowers, you need to remove every petal in the stem and put them in the compost heap either through a covered bin or a ground pit. You can also cut the soft part of the stem and the leaves to be added to the compost pile. The dried foliage and flower heads can also be included in the compost pile for additional carbon.
3. Layer the compost
To do this, you just place the green materials and brown materials alternately just like making a sandwich. Irrigate the layers occasionally with enough water but do not drench them. After that, turn the compost pile once a week for air to flow all over it because this will complete the decomposing process.
After the three easy steps, you will have to wait for up to 6 to 12 months because this is the time leaves take to break down into compost. However, there are other solutions to speed things up.
Nitrogen is a good element to quicken the composting process but too much of it will not do any good. Hence, flowers are there to balance the nitrogen in the compost pile to ensure that the compost materials decompose properly.
Also, flowers can be the source of nitrogen because they are considered green materials like green clippings which are necessary to make compost. On the other hand, dried flowers are considered brown compost material.
The proper way if you want to speed the composting process is by keeping the leaves in a 1 to 2 inch thick. Since leaves do not contain enough nitrogen to fasten the composting process, it is best to layer them thin in the compost pile.
The same is true for flowers because they are rich in carbon making them a perfect material for composting. Once you manage to perfect the composting process, they will encourage living microbes that keep the soil healthy.
Take note, flowers and leaves are mostly made up of carbon. They must be supplemented by nitrogen-rich and green materials to balance the elements needed for perfect compost.
Nevertheless, you don’t have to worry if you only have flowers and leaves in your compost pile because there are available nitrogen additives in the market like alfalfa or blood meal. Add them to the compost pile to stimulate the composting process.
What Flowers Can You Use For Compost?
Most flowers can be used as a material for making compost except those poisonous flowers, flowers exposed to pesticides, and flowers that died due to some disease. Other than that, flowers are safe to use as a compost material.
Here is a list of poisonous flowers:
• Gloriosa superba
• Nerium oleander
• Blue Cohosh
• Crown vetch
Listed above are just a few of the many poisonous flowers out there in the world. If you happen to have one of them, better keep them away when making compost. Again, they are not suited to make compost because they will poison the compost pile and other growing plants if used in the growing medium.
How To Prepare Flowers For Compost?
1. Get your flowers
Flowers and dried leaves are great materials to make compost for soil enrichment. Turning them into a compost pile requires extra effort to achieve the perfect compost for your garden.
To prepare the flowers and leaves, you have to mix them proportionately with other materials like green and nitrogen-rich materials. If you use big leaves, you have to cut them into small pieces so that they can properly absorb the water which helps them to break down fast.
2. Pile the flowers and leaves in your compost heap
The recommended height is 4 to 6 inches high and it can be wide depending on the number of materials used. You can also pile them 1 to 2 inches thick if you want to speed the composting process. If the compost pile is too wet due to rainfall, place them under the sun for a day.
3. Shred the materials
This process becomes very handy or not depending on the tools you have. If you have a lawnmower, you can use it to shred the flowers and leave them into pieces. It’s OK if you do it manually if you use a material that is sharp enough to cut them.
After that, you pile them together with other materials like green clippings. To do so, pile your shredded flowers and leaves in a 4-inch layer and topped with green clippings in a 4-inch layer. Repeat the process until you have reached about 3-feet high and 3-feet wide.
4. Spray the layers first
Before putting the layer of green clippings, the flower and leaf layers should be sprayed with water because moisture helps in the composting flowers.
5. Mix them all
After the previous steps, you can now combine the flower and leaf layers with the green clippings. Turn them once a week for about 3 to 6 months. By this time, you will have perfect flower compost.
What To Avoid In Making A Compost?
When making compost using flowers, it is very important to know the variety of flowers. There are certain types of flowers like hemlock which tend to become poisonous when dried. Other flowers like angel’s trumpet, which are poisonous as well, but they get weary and safe when used as a material for composting.
The next thing to avoid is the flowers that have been exposed to pesticides. Do not include flowers that come in contact with any fertilizers. It is preferable to use natural and organic plants because compost is an organic fertilizer.
Aside from pesticides, you have to avoid the flowers that died due to some disease. Putting the flowers that died because of disease will spread the disease all over the compost pile making it unsafe to use as soil enrichment. Hence, you have to keep the materials as healthy as possible when making compost.
Materials Needed For Composting
1. Green and brown materials
Flowers are capable of being a green and brown material thereby making them one of the best materials for composting. The green materials are responsible for the nitrogen while the brown materials are responsible for the carbon. These two elements are crucial for composting organisms to thrive.
The green and brown materials make up most of the compost pile. They are the star of the show, so to speak.
The next thing you need to have is water. Obviously, water is the lifeline of every living organism. Hence, your compost needs to have moisture to sustain the organisms present in that compost.
The moisture needed for every compost has to be perfect. Little moisture will cause the organisms to die. Too much moisture will soak the organisms and cause them to die.
Needless to say, the compost has to be perfectly wet. They should be like a wrung-out sponge when you touch as an indication that they are perfectly wet.
3. Compost heap
You need to have a place for your compost. It could either be a container or a pit in the ground. It does not matter what type of compost heap you have, what matters is you follow the necessary steps to carry out the composting process.
4. Lawnmower or other sharp material
As mentioned earlier, these materials can be used to shred the compost materials.
Now that you know all the relevant information about flower composting, it is already safe to assume that you can do it on your own. You can never go wrong with using compost for soil enrichment. They are natural fertilizers and have a long reputation for nurturing the plants.
You just have to remember everything in here and you are safe to go. Enjoy making your flower compost.