When many people think of composting, images of handling messy, smell trash come to mind. However, composting is one of the most important things you can do to grow an organic garden, and it’s considerably easier than you might think.
Here is some information about composting and the basic knowledge you need to get started with it to grow organic, fruits, vegetables, plants, and flowers.
What Is Composting?
Composting is a type of recycling that focuses on decomposed organic materials. The purpose of composting is to create nutrient-rich soil that helps plants to thrive in the way that nature intended them to. Composting is also a great way to make use of all those food scraps, reduce your household garbage waste, and conserve natural resources.
Basic Ingredients of Composting
To begin, let’s break down the basic ingredients of composting. “Green materials” include fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and grass clippings. “Brown materials” are debris lying around your home, such as branches and dead leaves. The third component of composting is water. Having the right balance between these three ingredients is essential to create compost. Aim to have an equal amount of greens and browns to balance the carbon from browns with the nitrogen from greens and the moisture from water to help break it all down.
What Is Compostable?
Unfortunately, not everything is compostable, but many things are that you use every day. For example, you can compost fruits and vegetables, tea bags, paper, cardboard, yard trimmings, nut shells, and coffee filters. You can also compose hair, ashes, leaves, cotton rags, hay, sawdust, and wood chips.
However, avoid adding dairy products, meat bones, fish scraps, pet waste, and fats and oils to your compost. Also, avoid adding any yard materials that have been contaminated with pesticides or any plants that have become diseased.
Types of Composting
The easiest way to start composting is to create a compost bin outside, somewhere between the kitchen and the garden and near a water source. Keep adding compostable materials to the bin, adding water and turning the pile over regularly. People who live in apartments or other small spaces without ample yard space can use a compost tumbler instead to contain the materials.
Benefits of Composting
There are many reasons to start a compost pile in your home, including the following:
- Eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers
- Lowers your carbon footprint
- Encourages beneficial bacteria growth
- Helps soil retain moisture
- Save money on water loss costs
- Helps plants resist disease
- Enjoy healthier and more delicious plants
How to Get Started with Composting
To get started with composting in a yard, find a shaded and dry spot near a water source and place a bin here. Add green and materials as you use and find them, but make sure to chop up large pieces into smaller sizes. Keep materials moist in the bin and keep fruit and vegetable waste about 10 inches under the surface of the pile with it covered with other waste. If you live in a dry climate, you can keep the pile moist by placing a tarp over it. A good size for a compost pile is between a three-foot square and a five-foot square.
Compost can be ready to use on your plants in as little as two months, but it may take up to a year or longer if you aren’t adding enough materials to it regularly or maintaining a good balance among the different materials. The pile will be ready to use when the bottom materials are very dark in color. At this point, the waste ingredients you added to the pile should not be recognizable.
Have you tried composting at home? Share your experience with us and other Seagate readers in the comment section below.