How to Compost at Home

Waste Management | Potassium Nitrate 

Being healthy isn’t just about what you put in your mouth. There are plenty of ways to improve your lifestyle outside of ‘Clean Eating’ and many come from taking care of the environment and therefore, taking care of yourself in turn. It may not be the first solution that comes to mind, but a large way to give back to the environment in the spirit of “living healthy” is through composting.

If you don’t compost already, you’re probably thinking, “Why do I have to compost? And how do I even begin?” but, composting isn’t quite as complicated as it sounds and it isn’t just for those who live in houses surrounded by lush yard either. Like composting, the answers to these questions aren’t as complicated as they seem, and with a little help you’ll be on your way to quick and easy composting!

Let’s begin with the why. Composting, for one, is the most important natural supplement you can give your garden soil. It’s a simple way to fuel your plant growth by insuring nutrient-rich soil that retains moisture better and also increases its vitality. Not to mention, it’s free!

Composting is a great way to make sure nothing goes to waste because it’s as easy as recycling both your kitchen, as well as, your yard waste. By doing this, up to 30% of your household waste won’t end up in the trash and can even create something beautiful! Not to mention, this is good news for our quickly overflowing landfills which, on average, are made up of at least a third of compostable substances. The point is, composting is helpful for everyone, not just you.

Here’s how to get started:

First things first– you need somewhere to store your compost. That means building a compost bin. The purpose of this bin, as you might have guessed, is to keep all your compost materials neatly in one place so heat can build as decomposition begins to break down the materials for better use. The bin should be big enough that you can still ‘turn’ your compost in order to speed the process and help aeration of the material. The bin should also have a cover, and a simple one will do, just to keep the compost safe from too much rain which can slow the process. Compost bins don’t have to be complicated either, and can be made out of the scrap, or recyclable, materials you have available. They should be placed in a shaded area where proper drainage is possible. This will keep the compost from drying out.

Now, composting doesn’t have to be a difficult project. There are many alternative ways of composting that can make things simple and as efficient as possible for both you and the environment. The first example of these methods is called “no-turn” composting.

The biggest hassle with composting in general is usually the time to time ‘turning’ of the mulch and materials that make up the compost. Alternatively, however, with ‘no-turn’ composting, your compost can be properly aerated without turning. This is accomplished through thoroughly mixing in coarse material, such as straw, when adding to your bin. By doing this, you are ensuring the compost will develop quickly, just as though it was being turned regularly. This way all you have to do it add new materials to the top and pull your fresh compost from the bottom of the pile. With ‘no-turn’ composting, however, it has been shown that nitrogen levels might be higher than with ‘turned’ compost.

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to start composting. Once you’ve gotten started, it’s important to activate your compost. To do this, you have to add ‘activators’ to the pile in order to kick start the process and speed up the composting process. ‘Activators’ are usually materials such as grass clippings, young weeds, well-rotted chicken manure or comfrey leaves.

When using compost, you should not use it exclusively as a substitute for soil and other growing mediums, but as an additive. Think of it like a vitamin supplement. Just like you take vitamins in addition to a healthy diet, your plants also need something to give a jump start of good feeling. To keep flies and smelly orders away, make sure your compost is covered, refrain from adding bones or meat scraps to the pile and always cover new additions to the compost with one to two inches of dried grass clippings or the like.

Lastly, here is a list of compost friendly materials that are more than likely passing through your home everday:

  • Eggshells
  • Fruits and Vegetable Scraps
  • Garden Plants
  • Lawn and Garden Weeds
  • Pine Needles
  • Dry Grass
  • Flowers, Clippings
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Tea Leaves
  • Newspaper, Shredded Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Dryer Lint
  • Shrub Prunings
  • Green Comfy Leaves
  • Seaweed and Kelp
  • Corn Cobs

Happy Composting!!

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