Happy Earth Day! Today is the one day a year that thoughts turn to planting trees and recycling. I am an avid recycler, and we usually have more recycling than trash for pickup every week. Now that we have have our own house with a little yard, I have taken up another form of recycling: composting. In honor of the day, I thought I would share with you our foray into composting.
Benefits of Composting
Composting has a variety of benefits, including creating a rich soil for plants and being an eco-friendly way to dispose of kitchen and yard waste. Compost becomes excellent, organic food for a vegetable garden, which prevents the use of synthetic fertilizers. Compost is also does not cause pollution, which fertilizers can do when they runoff into our waterways. I love using compost, particularly in my vegetable garden, because I know exactly what is being used to feed my plants and build the nutrients into the plants. This way, I know without a doubt that everything I eat out of my garden is 100% organic and hasn’t come into contact with chemicals, regardless of how safe and supposedly organic those chemicals may be. Compost also reduces your food waste and ultimately reduces the amount of waste your household puts into landfills. It also is cost saving, as it is an economical way to get a “second life” out of purchased fruits and vegetables, and reduces your need to purchase expensive commercial fertilizers.
What’s in Compost?
Any food scraps, EXCEPT meat and dairy products, can be used in compost. Here’s a brief list of what we’ve composted:
– Coffee grinds (including paper filters)
– Egg shells
– Scraps from preparing vegetables, like broccoli stalks, the insides of green peppers, etc.
– Fruit peels, like banana peels, strawberry tops and apple cores
You will also need a healthy portion of dead leaves and grass clippings to help create the compost breakdown properly.
How to Compost
The first step is to create a compost area. We purchased this bin from Amazon. I loved it because it allowed me to create 2 batches of compost, it is easy to use, and it is very subtle when in the back yard.
Then, just fill it with your organic matter. We have a small bucket in the kitchen to collect our daily food waste. Once it’s full, we will take it into the backyard and dump it into the compost. I’ve found this makes it a whole lot easier to remember to compost.
About once every 2 weeks, you will need to turn your compost to help it continue to break down. For our compost bin, this just means rotating the bin a few times. Depending on your bin, you may have to manually take a shovel and move the compost around.
Once it starts to look like soil, it’s ready to use. Spread it on your vegetable gardens or in flower beds like you would potting soil. Before you know it, you’ll have beautiful, healthy, organic plants!