I am sure many of you are no stranger to the idea of composting, but do you actually do it? We throw away tons and tons of waste each year and a drastic amount of this is food. What if I told you that you could save money by taking your food and putting it in a container outside, instead of in a trash bag? Composting is so easy and the benefits are endless!
How do you go about composting?
Composting is incredibly easy, all you need is a container with no base (that you make or purchase) that is either open or closed at the top. As I have many animals where I live, I prefer a closed container to an open one so that I don’t have any unwelcome guests. Start by placing straw or sticks a few inches deep on the base above the ground to help with aeration and then you can begin. Compost works best when you alternate dry (leaves) and wet (food scraps) materials and breaks down best in summer months when the heat helps the process. Once a month or so, take a shovel or pitchfork and turn the compost to give it air and help the break down process.
Can I compost anything?
Not everything works well in a compost pile. Items like fish and meat can increase the bacteria in your pile and attract unwanted flies or animals. Yard waste such as grass clippings, leaves, twigs, paper products, and food waste are all fantastic for helping your pile. Since the base of a compost box should be open, bugs should have no problem finding their way into the pile to help with decomposition, but I like to throw in worms whenever I see them to help with the assist.
How much should I put in my composting pile?
That is entirely up to you! Compost does best with a mixture of carbon and nitrogen items. Think of your carbon items as old items like dry leaves, eggshells, sticks, ect. Your nitrogen items are fresher items like green grass clippings, green leaves, fresh food waste, ect. Keeping a balance of more carbon then nitrogen is the best for your pile but if you are new to this, don’t let it stress you out! The main concept is to get a good mix of earth and food items for the best success and to turn the pile monthly.
What do I use the compost for?
Remember when I built a raised garden bed? Once I made my bed, I took my compost and used it as the top layer of soil for my vegetables. This rich mixture makes my vegetables take off and I have never had a more abundant year of vegetables! Not a gardener? Not a problem! Compost feeds soil and can replenish nutrients that have been lost by simply mixing it with the old soil. Adding compost to any plants or tress you plan on cultivating, or even to help grow grass in stubborn areas is the best and natural way to help your yard thrive.
Composting is so easy and fun to do, especially when you involve your kids. My children love to search for worms and turn the pile for me, making my job even easier. When composting, not only can you feel better about less food waste, but your plants around your home will thrive. Summer is the best season for composting, so get started today before fall officially hits!