What is composting?
I love composting; well really, I just like another way to free up some of the trash that would go into my can. I also like the idea of doing my own recycling at home which is what composting is, turning something old into something new. Composting is the breakdown of organic materials into a useable fertilizer for your yard or garden. Did you know that “Americans throw away 200 million pounds of trash a DAY and 15% of that is yard and kitchen waste”?? (sierraclub.org)
What do I need?
How you want to compost is up to you and your needs. If you have a small or unfenced yard and aesthetics are important, a composter or tumbler may be what you want. These can be placed near your trash can and will keep all of your waste contained and attractive. Also, if you do not have a fenced yard, a composter or tumbler will keep rodents and animals out of your compost. Here are a few examples all found here:
You can build a compost area out of chicken wire, old pallets or wood scraps. Just fashion a bin out of one of the said materials. This option also keeps your debris in and animals out.
If you have a larger, fenced yard you can just make a pile. I chose an inconspicuous place behind our shed and near the garden.
Your inside container can vary as well. Some are decorative and sit on your counter and some are simple and can be hid in a cabinet. Ours is a small bucket with a lid and has two brackets to hang it on the inside of a cabinet door. Whatever you use, you need to have a lid to keep smells in and fruit flies out. You can even use a large coffee can with a lid.
What can I compost?
The key ingredients in compost are air, water, carbon (brown/leaves) and nitrogen (green/grass clippings). You can compost almost all of your yard and kitchen waste as long as it does not contain meat or greasy/ fatty liquids (this includes salad dressings). Some examples of compostables are below:
Over ripe fruits and vegetables
Fruit and vegetable peels
Yard waste (leaves, trimmings, weeds)
Paper (newspaper or shredded computer paper)
Cardboard (cut into small pieces)
Keeping your compost turned and moist is key!! My pile last summer turned into a huge ant pile. After a little research I found out that the dryness of the pile was the culprit. Keep it watered and keep it turned. Since I use a pile method, I turn my compost with a pitch fork. I try to make sure that when I add new materials, I cover them with older material from the bottom of the pile. When your compost is ready to use in your yard or garden it should be brown, crumbly and smell earthy.
All that is left now is to reap the rewards of your efforts! Use your FREE compost in your garden, beds or pots! Enjoy!