Creating compost and using it in our gardens is one of the best things you can do for the environment and for your garden. Here are 3 ways to start composting.
Compost is nature’s recycling bin by taking all the vegetative and brown waste and turning it into soil that is rich in nutrients. Compost is the best amendment you can add to your garden or potting soil. A big misconception is that compost is smelly and attracts bugs. Having microscopic bugs and earthworms in your compost pile is essential as they are the ones eating the refuse and producing that awesome compost. Bugs and the compost they produce is part of the circle of life and essential part to a healthy well-balanced garden. Here are three ways to start composting today.
3 Ways to Start Composting
A traditional compost pile is easy to start and can produce compost in 10-12 weeks. You can make a compost bin or just make a pile in a corner of the yard. The compost will need to be turned weekly, so have a little room to shovel and use a pitch fork for easy turning. Start the pile by putting down brown materials like dried leaves or twigs on the bottom. Next grab lawn clippings and other green materials such as newspaper, coffee grounds, egg shells, and all your leftover fruits and vegetables and put those on top. Don’t add meats or dairy as that’s when you attract animals and bugs that you would rather not have around. After everything is added, water the pile down completely and mix everything together with a pitch fork. Here are DIY compost bin projects.
The easiest way to have an outside compost pile is to buy a composter that is on a stand and turns. Initially, it will seem that they are more expensive than just having a pile. But let me tell you, the time you will save from turning a pile is so well worth it because you can do that same amount of work that requires an hour and a pitch form with a couple quick turns of the barrel. It is also a great gardening addition to save your back! You add the same items to the barrel and keep it evenly moist at all times and you can create compost in as little as 6 weeks!
Vermiculture is composting with worms and they can compost waste super-fast, sometimes in just weeks! Earthworm castings are a very high-quality compost additive and the best part is a worm bin is self-contained and nearly odorless. You can do vermicomposting inside in a standalone vermiculture bin or outside in a large container like an old bathtub. The most often used worms in vermiculture are red worms (Eisenia fetida) and will reproduce and eat the most refuse when temperatures are between 50-70 degrees.
Start your worm bin with a base of shredded newspaper or dried grass. This provides a great source of fiber and keeps the bin well-ventilated. Add a scoop of dirt or potting soil then thoroughly soak it for 24 hours before adding the worms. Worms will reproduce and die based on how much food you give them. Feed them small amounts once a week in the beginning as they also will eat bedding. As the worms reproduce and grow in numbers, feed them twice a week with fruit and vegetable scraps, tea leaves and coffee grounds, egg shells, plus bread and other grains. The best way to give them their food is to put it into a food processor first then mix the scraps into the bedding when you feed them. It is so much fun to worm compost!
More Composting Tips
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- How to Make a Straw Bale Garden
- How to Start a Plot Garden
- Companion Plant Gardening
- Vegetable Container Gardening
- Tips for Attracting Bees to Your Garden
You can follow Kristi Trimmer’s journey on DragonflyRunning.com.