Home Composting-benefits for Garden and Globe

Anita asked:

Vegetable scraps often end up in your trash, but you can take those scraps and turn them into nutrient rich soil for your landscaping. Not everything you eat is appropriate for composting, but the majority of your vegetable scraps make wonderful compost. Composting is really easy. Keep a bucket in your kitchen for certain food scraps while you are preparing your meals. At the end of the day, empty the contents of that bucket into your compost pile or bin. Heat from the sun, bacteria and activity from insects break down the food scraps into rich soil over time. As you add new ingredients to your compost, stir it up to help aid the process. Oxygen is important in the growth of bacteria.


When you mow your lawn, gather up the grass clippings and add them to your compost pile or bin. The same is true of leaves. These make great compost. If you are comfortable with worms, smaller red worms can help the composting process. You should feed them daily by placing new scraps  on top, but they’ll do the work of breaking the material down. It’s a fun project, especially for children.

You will first need to buy a compost bin, which can sometimes be located at home improvement or gardening stores. If you cannot find a pre-made compost bin, you can easily create your own using wood, pallets, blocks of concrete, wire, and an old garbage can with ½ -inch holes poked into the bottom. This allows moisture to escape from the compost container and into the ground, but keeps small animals out of the bin.

When you have your bin, you need to begin layering it with compost. You should first place a layer of small, smooth rocks along the bottom, and then begin alternating layers of brown and green waste. Brown waste typically consists of sawdust, wood chips, dried leaves, and paper products like newspaper and coffee filters. Green waste is comprised of eggshells, tea bags, old fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, general food wastes, and weeds. One helpful point to remember is to put soil between each layer, as this will accelerate the whole process.

Once your compost bin is done, place it a short distance away from outside patios or decks, as activities from flies can become problematic. Additionally, on hot summer days there may be mild odors from the rotting vegetation. This smell bothers some while it doesn’t influence others. Most gardeners find it easiest to place their compost bin near their garden. Once your compost bin is in place, add a layer of soil followed by a layer of material to be composted. Top this with more soil and then let nature take over. Every day or week, you’ll add new matter to be composted. As you add additional materials, take a pitchfork and mix it up to make sure oxygen is reaching the composting matter.

After beginning your home composting project, you will need to take a few steps to maintain it. Luckily, it is not difficult or high-maintenance. You simply need to continually add scraps of food or other waste like grass clippings or dried leaves. You can keep a separate container for old food waste in your kitchen, and empty it into your compost bin frequently. You also need to remember to turn the pile over at least one time per season to air it out, so that the bottom of the compost heap is now on the top. Happy composting!

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