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Tips and Guides

DIY: How To Make Your Own Soil

Yes, you read that right!

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Photography: Jun Pinzon (Main Photo)

A lot of homeowners have been into gardening, whether it’s a sprawling lawn outside the house or a tiny nook indoors. But did you know that you can actually make your own soil? “It’s sustainable, green, organic, and urban lifestyle-friendly,” says Bien Po, a DIY enthusiast whose condo home has been featured in Real Living. “You will generate less amount of household waste, since most household waste can be converted into compost, then ultimately into soil."

Materials:

  • 2 large 5 gallon buckets or any decent-size containers
  • Bucket lid
  • Household waste classified as GREENS (vegetable  and fruit scraps, egg shells, fresh leaves, fresh grass, etc.) and BROWNS (paper products such as paper bag, receipts, spam mail, flyers, paper tags, paper bags, wrapping paper; dried leaves, used tea/tea bags, coffee grounds, saw dust, etc.)
  • Sand or other aggregates (pebbles, crushed stones or gravels, clay, dirt, wood chips, saw dust, rice husk)

How-to:

  1. Make your compost. Drill holes at the bottom and on the sides of one of the buckets. Then, put this on top of the other bucket, which will become your catch basin. 
  2. Drill holes on top of the bucket lid. Then, layer household waste (your greens and browns) alternately inside the bucket with holes. A good layer with 1:1 ratio is ideal. When making compost, DO NOT USE cooked food, grease contaminated paper, meat, fish scraps, animal excrements, and the like. 
  3. If your pile gives off an offensive odor or attracts flies, it means that your ratio is wrong. Add more BROWNS to your pile. 
  4. If your pile is not decomposing after two weeks (meaning paper and leaves are still intact), you need to add more GREENS to your pile.
  5. Mix the pile at least every other day while misting it with a small amount of water. 
  6. Cover the pile with the lid to prevent flies. Keep mixing the pile at least every other day for two weeks. 
  7. You will then notice that water accumulates in your catch basin. Don't throw this away. You can use this as compost tea to fertilize your other plants. Simply transfer the water into open containers and allow it to be exposed to air to encourage aerobic bacteria growth. You can also use a small air pump that is used in aquariums to add more air into the solution. 
  8. After two to four weeks, you now have compost. The more you mix the pile, the faster it will turn into compost. 
  9. To make garden soil, mix aggregates like sand, pebbles, crushed stones or gravel, dirt, wood chips, saw dust, and rice husk with your compost. 
  10. The ratio of compost to aggregates will depend on what or where your soil will be used for. Bien follows the following:
    *For cactus and succulents: 1 part compost + 1 part sand
    *For ornamental plants and vegetable gardens: 1 part compost  + 2 part dirt (ordinary soil on roads), saw dust or rice husk

 

To see more of Bien’s DIY projects, follow Bien Makes Stuff on YouTube. 

PHOTOS: Miguel Nacianceno | Jun Pinzon

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