Composting is the act of collecting organic materials and letting them decompose in a controlled environment, producing fertilizer or nutrient-rich soil. Creating compost provides multiple advantages, is beneficial to the environment, gardens and crops, and provides an eco-friendly method of waste disposal. Some noticeable benefits of composting are that it creates a soil compound that plants, vegetables, lawns, and herbs thrive upon and it is cost-effective. By composting, gardeners do not have to rely upon high-priced soil additives to ensure that their vegetation is well-fed but instead have access to a continual supply of healthy soil. While composting is an effective way of disposing of wastes, there are certain ingredients that should be kept out of the compost pile. Things that attract pests, vermin, or rodents should not be added, and neither should toxic chemicals, such as insecticides or pesticides.

A compost pile should consist of “greens” and “browns.” Greens include nitrogen-rich sources such as tree or bush prunings, fruits and vegetables, grass cuttings and clippings, hair, fur, feathers, and natural materials from the kitchen. Kitchen scraps such as coffee grounds and paper filters, tea bags, bread, and eggshells are perfect choices for the compost bin. Browns are carbon-rich materials that are often found outside of the home. Examples of browns include tree bark, leaves, pine needles, sawdust, straw, wood chips, corn stalks, and even shredded newspaper. Certain materials that should not be included in the compost bin include dairy products, meat waste or scraps, animal bones, human or animal waste, oil, grease, fat, plants that are sick or diseased, and weeds and their seeds. Several plants should never be included in a compost pile, as they contain toxins that are released during decomposition. These include oleander, tamarisk, and eucalyptus. Some people choose to use cow, horse, pig, or rabbit manure in their compost piles, as these sources are high in nitrogen.

Planning is essential for a successful composting experience. Begin by determining where you will place your compost pile or bin. Water is an important ingredient for any compost bin, so ensure that you establish your bin near a water source. It’s best to keep your compost pile in an area that is out of direct sunlight and out of the wind. Creating a compost bin doesn’t have to be expensive. You can use materials such as concrete blocks or heavy wire mesh. Some bins are crafted from old wooden pallets that are stacked on top of one another. A good depth for composting bins is 30 inches. They may be 30 inches in circumference as well. After the bin is constructed, you should begin to add your organic materials and then let nature take its course. While some opt to compost by using a pile instead of a bin, a pile can attract insects and vermin. By keeping your compost confined to a bin, you can contain the process and prevent unwanted critters from invading the area.

Your green and brown organic materials are invaluable to your compost pile. The nitrogen-rich green materials create heat, while the brown, carbon-rich materials add substance to the compost. Those who are concerned about pests getting into the compost should ensure that they turn the pile when adding food scraps. Always leave yard waste, such as leaves and prunings, at the top of the bin to discourage pests. Turning a compost pile is an important step that helps the pile decompose more quickly. A regularly turned compost pile may become fully mature soil within one or two months. A pile that is not turned may take six months or even several years to compost. Those who want to ensure that their compost pile progresses quickly should shred materials before adding them.

Composting is a wonderful way to help reduce waste while ensuring that your plants have nutrient-rich materials to feed upon. Additionally, composting is a simple process that can be accomplished in a backyard or with smaller bins suitable for rooftops and apartment dwellers. To learn more, visit the links below: