Spending more time at home these days? Enjoying fresh produce and warm weather?
Then it sounds like the perfect time to start a home composting program! Composting is good for the planet, your garden, and it’s easier than you might think.
Once you get started composting, it will become second nature to add your food scraps to the pile. And before you know it, you’ll have plenty of rich and healthy soil to turn your backyard into a thriving garden.
What is Composting?
Composting is the simple practice of setting aside your household waste and food scraps. Over time, a pile of compost will degrade into a soil-like powder that’s full of the nutrients your plants love. Compost can give your home flower or vegetable garden a major boost in productivity.
Why You Should Compost At Home
There are many benefits to composting at home. It’s good for the planet and puts your food waste and vegetable scraps to good use. Think of it as recycling for food.
By using compost to fertilize your gardens and enrich your soil, you reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers. Man-made fertilizers can have negative effects on the environment. They leach inorganic compounds that are bad for animals, humans, and soil health. Especially if you’re growing produce at home, you don’t want to eat food grown with chemicals.
In addition, when you toss your banana peel into the compost pile rather than the trash can, you reduce your overall household waste production. This, in turn, reduces mass at landfills. Landfills are major sources of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
All of the various scraps that you compost become a vital mix of nutrients and minerals that plants love. Such healthy soil is a breeding ground for beneficial organisms, including bacteria and fungi. These little critters proliferate in composted soil, breaking it down further into nutrient-filled dirt. Composting is one way that we can give back to the Earth.
Where Should I Set Up A Compost Pile?
You don’t need much space to start composting. If you have a yard or outdoor space, you can set aside a 3-square-foot plot to dump your food scraps. A smaller space will also work, especially if you don’t produce a lot of scraps.
The ideal compost space is dry and shaded. Look for a space in the corner or edge of your lawn, under tree cover.
You can also keep your outdoor compost pile discreet with a neat bin or wooden enclosure if you like. Look online for plans to build your own on the cheap, or by a pre-fabricated bin.
Can I Compost Indoors?
If you live in a city or don’t have enough outdoor space to set up your own compost enclosure, there are many products designed for indoor composting. Some, known as worm bins, contain red worms that process your compost quickly and efficiently.
By paying attention to what you compost and by turning it regularly, you can avoid unpleasant odors and turn indoor compost around very quickly.
What Should I Not Throw in The Compost?
- Animal, fish and dairy products, including bones
- Cooking fat
- Yard cuttings that have been exposed to chemical fertilizers
- Pet waste
What Should I Compost?
- Fruits and vegetables, including stems, leaves, greens, and roots. Cut up large or tough items, like pineapple and citrus rinds to help them break down faster.
- Coffee grounds.
- Yard cuttings, including grass, weeds, twigs, leaves, houseplants, and cut flowers.
- Paper and cardboard, including paper towels, napkins, and newspapers.
- Ashes from the fireplace.
How to Care For Your Compost Pile
Once you have a location designated and you’ve started collecting compost, caring for your pile is easy.
First, keep it covered with a tarp to trap in moisture, which encourages bacteria growth. And use a pitchfork or shovel to turn your compost every week during warm weather, and once a month during the winter.
The compost is ready to use when it’s dark, musty, and resembles fine soil. To use your freshly made compost, sprinkle it generously around your garden plants. Indoors too–you can even use compost to pot houseplants, no soil necessary.
There’s no time like the present to start collecting compost, and the sooner you do, the sooner your plants will thank you.