A Guide to Making Compost at Home
Food waste is the second largest category of municipal solid waste in the United Sates, food scraps pile up in our nations landfill, releasing methane into the atmosphere, a potent greenhouse gas. Methane gas is one of the largest contributors to global climate change. To help cut down on your carbon footprint, consider composting at home. By composting at home you can divert unnecessary waste from landfills.
Help Out Your Garden
Composting supplements your gardens soil with tons of nutrients, which are great for plant growth! The compost acts as a natural conditioner to the soil, and helps your garden retain moisture while also getting rid of any leftover chemical fertilizers.
Start a Compost Bin
Many of those who practice compositing choose to build a compost bin to prevent pests and animals from getting in. By using the bin, you’re simplifying your composting process, making compost at home is easier than you may think, as the real hard work is taken care of by nature’s tiniest creatures.
Composting is the natural process of the decomposition of organic material, microbes and other creatures essentially break down organic material to a form of soil that is very rich in nutrients, essential to plant growth. This process does take some time, but you can speed up the decomposition by creating the ideal environment for the microbes, this is where a compost box comes in.
Here’s how you can start composting at home in 5 easy steps:
Choose a composting site that is at least 3 feet long by 3 feet wide, once you’ve determined the space for your compost pile, start with a combination of carbon-rich “brown” materials and nitrogen-rich “green” materials.
Carbon-Rich “Brown” Materials:
• Shredded newspaper.
• Fall leaves.
• Dead flowers.
Nitrogen-Rich “Green” Materials:
• Grass clippings.
• Barnyard animal manure.
• Plant-based kitchen waste.
When starting the compost bin, layer the brown and green materials as you would a cake. Start with a thick layer of dry brown material, topped with green material, topped with a thin layer of potting soil, and finish with another layer of brown.
Continue layering brown and green materials with soil over time, keep the pile moist but be careful not to over water it. Keep in mind most compost failure is due to lack of moisture. Add some grass clippings to help hydrate your compost, along with small doses of water.
Every few weeks, using a garden fork or shovel, turn your compost pile. Make sure the pile is kept moist, and don’t be alarmed if you see steam rising from the pile while turning, it’s normal for materials to heat up as they decompose.
Check your compost pile for earth worms, usually found at the center. If you find any wiggling around then congratulations, you’ve achieved a successful compost! Now that your compost is full of rich nutrients, share and spread it throughout your garden! Lay compost over your garden, on your lawns dead patches, and watch it bloom.
Alternatives for Apartments
If you live in an apartment, or have limited backyard space, but still want to start your own compost pile, don’t worry! You too can have your own compost pile with a kitchen compost pail. Kitchen compost pails are a convenient option for those with limited space. Most people will put their compost pail under the sink, using a bucket or garbage bin, or even a metal container.
What Materials Should You Compost
Compost any kitchen scraps, prunings and yard waste. Any organic and natural materials will return their nutrients to the earth. Table scraps, fruit and vegetable scraps, crushed eggshells and coffee grounds are all great kitchen materials that will benefit your compost pile. Find materials in your yard including, leaves, grass clippings, dead plants, straw or hay, pine needles and shrub prunings. You can also throw in wood ash, shredded paper and newspaper, wood chips, cardboard, seaweed and kelp, sawdust pellets, and even dryer lint!
What Materials Shouldn’t Be Composted
• Meats, bones or fish scraps
• Oil, fat or grease
• Dairy products
• Diseased plants
Stay clear from the items listed above to avoid rotting and pests, remember if your produce is not organic or homegrown, be mindful of the potential for pesticide residue on the items. Do not throw in any domestic pest waste, especially if the compost will be used in garden soil.
We hope you’ve found this guide helpful when starting your own compost pile! Remember by starting your own compost pile you are cutting down your contribution to food waste in our country, which in turn will help our planet! Be smart about what you throw in the garbage, whether food, plastic, cans and other waste, it all goes to our landfills and effects our ecosystem in one way or another. If you have anymore questions about composting, or want to take care of a large amount of waste the proper way, call us at Waste Solutions 123!