Garden composting has been a long held habit in our family. As a young child I remember taking everything from kitchen scraps, to lawn clippings and raked leaves to the compost pile that my grandmother had in the corner of her back yard.
The benefits of composting are becoming a key factor among those looking to go green and reduce, reuse, recycle and restore things back to the earth. There are numerous benefits in composting as many materials as possible. I’m sure there are as many reasons to compost as there are people who are already doing so.
Composting reduces waste in landfills: It has been estimated that 25% or more of the materials going to landfills could be composted and returned to the soil.
Composting improves soil characteristics : Moisture and nutrients are added and retained by adding large amounts of composted materials to the soil.
Composting provides gardeners with organic fertilizer: Organic fertilizer is healthier for plants and the environment.
Composting saves money: Cost of fertilizers and even pesticides are greatly reduced by composting.
Composting is fun: Composting offers a fun way to get involved in giving back to the earth and making a difference in your corner of the world and neighborhood.
While my grandmother’s compost was literally a pile enclosed by chicken wire in a corner of her back yard. Composting can be done anywhere there is the desire and place to do so, even indoors! For indoor composting there are a wide variety of composting bins available that will turn table scraps and other organic materials into compost for home use.
Compost is composed of three main ingredients:
Brown material: includes things such as dead leaves, twigs, branches, paper
Green Material: includes things such as grass clippings, vegetable & fruit wastes & coffee grounds
Equal amounts of browns and greens and enough water to keep your composting materials moist but not soggy is the ideal. Indoor or outdoor composting materials break down and are ready to use sooner if everything is in as small a pieces as possible. But if time is not a concern simply layering equal parts and allowing them to break down over time will still yield usable compost.
To get start with outdoor composting pick a spot in a dry shady are to prevent your compost pile from drying to quickly.
Alternate layers of brown and green materials
Water each layer until toughly moist but not overly water laden.
An optional cover can help speed the process by trapping heat and moister that allows the materials to break down. An outdoor compost pile should be usable in 1-4 months. When the material on the bottom of the pile is brown and crumbling it is ready to use, ‘turn the pile by removing the bottom usable portion and placing to the top for garden use.
Indoor compost bins retain moisture and heat better and can produce usable compost in smaller amounts in as little as 2-5 weeks making it ideal for small home gardening needs. Compost bins can be obtained through home and garden centers in a wide range of sizes.
Resource: EPA: Waste – Resource Conservation -Reduce,Reuse, Recycle-Composting