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Composting in Thailand – Get Started!

Composting is nature’s way of recycling organic materials into healthy new soil. Because healthy Thai plants come from healthy Thai soil (and healthy Thai food comes from healthy Thai plants), one of the best things you can do for your health and garden is to make and use compost.

Composting in Thailand also saves you cash. Fertilizers are often expensive and contain chemicals. Compost is free and contains no chemicals. If you pay for the amount of trash picked up, composting also saves you money by reducing how much trash is thrown away.

You can easily make compost in Thailand in your own backyard with landscape trimmings and food scraps. With just a little effort and time, you can improve the health and appearance of your yard, save money on fertilizers and mulch, all the while preserving natural resources and protecting the health of your Thai family and pets.

A compost pile can be set up in a corner of the yard with only a few supplies. Choose a spot about 1.5 meters square near a water source and preferably out of direct sunlight. Clear the area of sod and grass. Build a simple compost bin with wood or wire like you see in the two drawings below.

      

Now you are ready to start composting!

What can I compost in Thailand? Many foods can be composted, including vegetable trimmings, egg shells, bread and grains, uncooked or cooked fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds with filters, and tea bags. You can also compost leaves, grass, hay, straw, yard clippings, vacuum cleaner lint, wool and cotton rags, sawdust, hair, fur, shredded newspaper, clean paper, and chicken, rabbit, buffalo, and cow manure.

What shouldn’t I compost in Thailand?

DO NOT compost meats, dairy foods, or any fats, oil, or grease because they can attract pests. Also do not compost aluminum, tin, or other metal; stickers from fruits or vegetables; plastics; soiled diapers; dirty cat litter; dog pooh; treated or painted wood; glass; and coal or charcoal.

How do I get started composting in Thailand?

Start your Thailand compost pile with a 4-inch layer of leaves, loose soil, or other yard trimmings. When composting food scraps, you should mix them with loose soil or yard trimmings when adding them to the pile. Alfalfa meal or clean cat litter may be added to the pile to absorb odors. In dry weather, sprinkle water on the pile, but don’t get it too soggy.

Turn the pile every few weeks with a pitchfork to circulate air and distribute moisture evenly. Don’t be surprised by the heat of the pile or if you see worms. That just means that your compost pile is working! Make sure children do not play in the composting pile or bin.

When will be Thai compost pile be finished?

Your compost should be done in 3 to 4 months when it becomes a dark crumbly material that is uniform in texture. When finished, spread the compost in your Thai garden or yard beds or under the shrubbery. The compost also can be used as potting soil.

Troubleshooting Your Compost Pile in Thailand

1) Problem: Rotten egg smell.

Cause: Insufficient air or too much moisture.

Solution: Turn pile and add more sawdust, leaves, yard trimmings, loose soil, or shredded paper.

2) Problem: Ammonia smell.

Cause: Too much nitrogen.

Solution: Add more sawdust, leaves, yard trimmings, loose soil, or shredded paper.

3) Pile does not heat up or decomposes too slowly.

Cause: Too little air or too much moisture; too much nitrogen; too small of a pile; too little moisture; or too little nitrogen.

Solution: Depending on which cause is creating the problem, the solutions include turning the pile and adding more sawdust, leaves, yard trimmings, loose soil, or shredded paper; adding more organic matter or manure; or turning the pile and adding more water.

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