Composting 101

dsc_0250I attended a composting workshop a few weeks ago and learned the basics of creating your own compost bin, what to use and how long it will take.  You are probably asking yourself, why?  Well it’s good for the planet (cuts down on trash), it’s good for your garden (plants love organic matter) and it’s a great way to teach kids about science and going green.

A few things to consider before you start:

  • Where you will put your pile or bin?  Don’t choose a location too far away and never check it, but don’t put it right by your patio either..
  • You can purchase a composting bin, some with turning mechanisms.  I decided to do a trial run with a sheet of lattice and some zip ties I had in dsc_0252my garage(to see if I can hack it prior to the investment).
  • There are two different methods, long term is when you layer your compost and don’t turn it, short is where you turn it every other day or so.  Long term takes much longer to break down(9 to 12 months) and the more labor intensive short method makes compost in around a month.
  • What will you compost?
    • Browns (Higher in Carbon) – dry leaves, aged hay, cardboard egg cartons, newspaper, chipped wood, dried grass, paper towels, shredded paper, coffee filters, sawdust
    • Greens (Higher in Nitrogen) – veggie scraps, fruit peels/rinds, coffee grounds, tea leaves, houseplants, spent flowers, manure from herbavore animals, weeds that haven’t gone to seed, green plant pruning, bone meal, feathers, fine needles, hair, fresh grass clippings
  • Use two parts Brown material to every one part Green layer
  • Get a compost bucket/bin to store all your fruits/veggie scraps while you are collecting for another layer.  I found this one at World Market and it has a charcoal liner on the top to contain any smells.

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So far I am doing the lazy method, but hope to start turning my pile more often.  The kids have really gotten into saving everything and putting it on the pile, we will see if their interest continues and if we get compost in a few months.

 

Summary

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