What Is Drunken Composting?
Drunken composting is a method of composting that accelerates the decaying process of organic matter by adding beer, sugar, and ammonia to your compost heap.
Drunken composting can be extremely effective and can speed up the composting process from months to only a couple of weeks.
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What Are The Benefits Of Drunken Composting?
The traditional way of compositing can take a lot of time to complete.
Without using any kind of compost accelerants, a large compost pile can take anywhere from a couple of months to years before it fully decomposes and turns into fertilizer.
And that can be a problem if you need regular fertilizer to tend to your plants and vegetables.
Drunken composting is different because you introduce specific ingredients into your compost heap to facilitate and speed up the decay process.
The ingredients used to speed things up are beer, soda, and ammonia.
So why add these specific items to your compost?
Contained within beer is nitrogen-rich yeast that is perfect for accelerating the decay and breakdown of organic matter within your compost pile.
The mildly acidic nature of soda will further help to break down organic material and its sugar content will help to attract micro-organisms that will speed up the composting process even more.
Adding ammonia to the mix provides an extra shot of nitrogen to your compost and this accelerates the whole process even further.
It’s the addition of these ingredients that makes drunken composting so time effective.
A traditional large compost heap can take months to fully break down.
But drunken composting can cut your wait time from months to as little as two weeks.
And that allows you to supply your plants with much more natural fertilizer and grow healthier crops.
How To Make A Drunken Compost
First, make the drunken composting mixture:
Grab a clean bucket and add the following ingredients:
- 1 can of regular beer
- 12 ounces of regular soda
- 8 ounces of ammonia
If you don’t have soda you can use 3 tablespoons of sugar, mixed with approximately 12 ounces of water.
Give it a good shake and add the mixture to a sprayer, if you have one handy.
If you don’t have a sprayer, you can just splash it onto your compost heap.
Now make the compost pile:
Begin your pile by laying down an area of fresh green grass clippings until it’s about 3 or 4 inches thick.
Once you have an area of grass laid out on the ground, give it a good spray with the beer, soda, and ammonia mixture.
Next, spread around any organic kitchen waste you have, such as finely chopped fruit and vegetable waste, non-greasy food scraps, and vegetable and fruit peelings. Give the pile another spray with the drunken compost mixture.
Now create a layer of brown matter to sit on top of the green layer you just created. This brown layer should consist of old leaves and twigs, other dry organic matter, or some compost from another old heap you have lying around.
The brown layer will act as a slow-burning food for your compost pile and stop the sun from bleaching out the grass clippings underneath.
It also helps the composting process by locking in the heat produced by the moist grass layer beneath.
Once the brown layer is on you can spray it down with the drunken compost mixture.
Next, you add another layer of grass cuttings and repeat the 3 steps until you have your compost heap built up.
Just remember, the larger you make the heap, the longer it will take to compost.
Also, don’t forget to cover the top of your compost heap with a piece of carpet or tarp to keep the birds away from any worms it attracts.
And after about 7 days, give your compost pile a good turn over with a garden fork.
The great thing about this method of composting is you don’t need any hard-to-get items or special skills to get it going.
So, if you’re interested in making your next compost a drunken one, follow along with these instructions and you’ll have yourself a pile of rich fertilizer in no time at all.
Is Beer Good For Composting?
Some people are still skeptical about using beer for composting.
And some even think that it could be bad for the compost heap.
But this isn’t the case.
Beer is perfect for accelerating the composting process.
Beer contains yeast and that helps to break down the organic material.
Any regular beer will get the job done.
So you don’t need to worry about choosing a particular brand or anything like that.
As long as the beer contains yeast.
The yeast speeds up decomposition, particularly for twigs and wood products, yeast is super-effective at breaking down lignin and facilitating the process of decay.
Is Wine Good For Composting?
Can you still achieve similar results if you use wine instead of beer?
Yes, you absolutely can.
Wine works equally as good as beer for accelerating the composting process.
The nitrogen contained in wine is great for breaking down your brown, carbon-based compost layers.
Either of these liquids is suitable for composting because they both contain a decent amount of yeast, which will really speed up the process.
How Long Does It Take To Make A Drunken Compost?
Traditional composting methods can take a long time but the addition of beer, soda, and ammonia will definitely speed things up.
But how quickly you’ll have fertilizer will depend on a number of other factors, such as, how big your compost pile is, how finely you chop your fruit and vegetable scraps, how effective you are at attracting and keeping worms, and what exactly you add to the heap.
The traditional composting process can last for many months.
Fertilizer from drunken compost, on the other hand, can be produced in as little as two weeks.
This style of composting speeds up the process by making your heap more conducive for microbes to thrive.
A drunken compost can usually be completed within a timeframe of about 12 to 21 days, but usually closer to the two-week mark.
This method of composting makes it possible for you to have natural fertilizer multiple times per year.
And that means healthier crops.
Essential Tips For A Successful Drunken Compost
While this method of composting reduces decomposition time and streamlines the whole process, there are still some things you can do to increase your chances of success.
Only Make As Much As You Need
If it’s a huge pile of grass and leaves you intend to compost, it will take longer.
Try to save some time by working out how much fertilizer you’ll need before you make a pile that’s too big.
Turn The Compost After About A Week
Without sufficient oxygen to fuel the composting organisms, the decomposition process will slow down.
Turning the pile will add more oxygen and kick decomposition back into gear.
When the microbes contained in the compost are supplied with adequate air, they are encouraged to decompose the organic material within a shorter timeframe.
If you don’t turn the compost, the process will still complete but it will just take longer.
Be Careful What You Add To The Heap
Some of the best options for your compost pile are fruit waste, vegetable peelings, grass cuttings, cardboard egg cartons, and shells, used tea bags, leaves, and plant prunings.
Those items can decay quickly and help to supply your pile with everything it needs to break down quickly.
Try to avoid adding dairy products, meat, or greasy food scraps as they can often attract pests.
Always Try To Attract Worms
Worms will consume and recycle food scraps and other organic material into a beneficial soil amendment known as worm compost.
Worms will eat the food scraps, which becomes compost as it passes through and exits the worm.
Worms will do a lot to boost the nutrients and beneficial microbes in your fertilizer.
And when you do attract worms to your compost pile, cover the top of it so that the birds don’t fly down and pick them off.
Use Enough Of The Drunken Compost Mixture
Be sure to give each layer of your compost heap a good wetting but don’t soak it too much – a spray around the surface of each layer for 3 – 5 seconds should do it.
What Not To Put On Your Drunken Compost Pile
Just as the right things are required for speedy and healthy composting, some things should definitely be kept off your heap.
Do not use meats, greasy food scraps, or any type of dairy products for your compost as they can attract pests.
And things like diapers, cat litter, dog waste, and diseased organic material should be kept well away.
Drunken composts are a quick and easy way to enrich your garden soil and create a nutrient-rich environment for your plants to thrive.
Regular drunken composting will also reduce your need for chemical fertilizers in the future.
The addition of regular fertilizer also helps your soil retain moisture and reduces the risk of your plants being exposed to pests and disease.
It will also help you to be a little more environmentally friendly reducing your carbon footprint by helping you reduce food waste.