Have you heard all the hype about composting but don’t know exactly what it is? Well, composting is recycling your kitchen waste and lawn trimmings by turning them into a valuable nutrition rich resource for your garden and houseplants. Compost is not dirt or soil. Some people mistakenly think that the end result of composting is dirt, or soil, like that you find in the ground. It’s not. To put it simply, the end result of composting is a substance that acts like a fertilizer and enriches the soil. Composted material helps grow hardier and healthier vegetable plants and gorgeous flowers!
Before you begin composting there are a few decisions to make:
1) Decide what type of container, bin or heap, you will need. This will depend on how much compost you will need.
2) Decide what you will be putting into your compost bin.
3) Decide where your bin or heap will be located. We have a fairly large homemade bin located behind the garden, since this is where it will mostly be used. Think less hauling when it’s finished! Since it is roughly made, it’s nice that it is out of site of the house. On the other hand, a small tumbler or bucket could easily be kept closer to house.
Regardless of bin, heap or container converting your waste into compost happens the same way. Composting is a breakdown of waste materials as they are digested, or broken down, by microbes.
The microbes, or fungi and bacteria, are what is needed in order for the composting process to work. They need air, water, and food to do their job. It will be up to you provide these things in the right amounts. If your compost pile, or bin, creates a foul odor it is most likely the result of not enough air circulating throughout the waste material. Without air, the material will still breakdown but it will be done by anaerobic microbes (organisms that do not need oxygen) as opposed to aerobic (ones that need oxygen). If you notice a foul odor, simple turn the pile. Stirring the material will let in more air. Foul odors also happen when you don’t have enough brown matter in your pile. You might also add in more brown matter such as wood chips, hay, shredded leaves, etc. to create more room for the air to circulate around the material. We turn ours with a shovel and stir it occasionally with a heavy garden fork.
Not only is composting good for the environment and your garden, it eliminates the amount of waste you throw away. Compost will enrich the soil your plants grow in giving you hearty and gorgeous plants. Once you see the amazing results of using compost, you won’t turn back!
Stay tuned for our next post in the series…coming soon!