In a time focused on environmental consciousness, metal straws, and reusable water bottles, we’re highlighting another Earth-friendly way to reduce, reuse and recycle: composting. A simple and easy way to get rid of bits and pieces from a full day of cooking, composting provides an endless list of benefits for your soil and plants.
There are a couple of different ways to start your compost pile. If you want to keep your project completely outdoors, you’ll need to start your compost pile directly on top of bare soil. If you’re starting during the winter or want to bring your operation indoors, use an indoor composting bin, such as this one available from Amazon. Once you have a spot for your compost, decide what you should or shouldn’t compost.
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Tea leaves
- Corn cobs
- Coffee grounds
- Bones or meat scraps: these will attract unwanted scavengers and pests to your garden.
- Pulled weeds or diseased plants: these could spread and infect the plants you’re trying to grow.
Important Note: While manure is used in composting and can be very beneficial, avoid using manure from pets in produce gardens.
As you start composting, make sure to add your compost in layers alternating between dry and wet materials. This will help the materials you add decompose at the same rate. Keeping your compost pile moist is also essential. It doesn’t need to be sopping wet, just give your compost a light watering when you water the rest of your yard. Once you have your first few layers situated, make sure to cover your pile. You can use a garbage can lid or piece of plywood for example. A cover traps heat and aids decomposition. It also keeps any pets out and ensures your compost won’t get over-watered by rain. Once you have your compost pile started, you no longer need to add in layers. Instead, mix in materials by giving your pile a good turn.
Composting enriches over-planted soil, prevents pests and harmful insects, and is a clean and safe alternative to chemical fertilizers. By simply taking the trash you were going to throw into the garbage and putting some of it back into the soil, you are doing your plants and our Earth a solid.