Are you throwing your fruit and vegetable scraps into the garbage, and then turning around and paying for fertilizer for your lawn or garden?
If so, you’re making a big mistake. With just a little bit of effort, you can turn those kitchen scraps and other garden debris from your yard into rich, organic compost that will improve your soil and make your plants healthier.
Here are 5 tips to get you started.
If you’re going to start composting, you need a spot to do it. An out of the way spot in the yard is nice, but don’t make it so far away that you’ll never make it over to add more materials.
You can start with something as simple as a compost pile. But a compost bin usually works better, because it keeps everything hidden away, and protected from pests like raccoons or squirrels. You don’t have to buy one if you’re handy — just make your own out of snow fencing, chicken wire, or old wooden pallets.
If you have too much of a single ingredient, like a big pile of only leaves, or a big pile of only grass clippings, it will take a long time to break down. Variety is the spice of life, and it’s also the secret to better, faster compost.
You can compost fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds with the filter, leaves, grass clippings and garden debris. Avoid meat, dairy, grease or bones in your compost, because they can cause bad smells and attract pests.
The microbes that break down kitchen scraps and garden debris into compost need oxygen to work effectively, so it’s important to mix up your materials now and then for the fastest results.
If you’re too busy to mix it though, don’t fret. It will just take a lot longer. You’ll still get finished compost in the end.
The materials in your compost bin or compost pile should be the dampness of a wrung out sponge.
Too wet, and the microbes that need oxygen to work won’t have enough. Too dry, and they can’t work either, because they also need moisture to live. Cover up your bin in the rain if it’s too wet, or leave the lid off in the rain or add water with a garden hose if it’s too dry.
When your compost starts to look like rich, brown soil and you can’t recognize individual ingredients anymore, you’re done.
Now is the time to use the finished compost. You can use it as a mulch, or a soil additive. Spread it on your lawn, add it to your flowerbeds, or till it right into your garden. There’s no wrong way to use it!
Compost will increase the organic fertility of your soil, and also give your soil better structure. It improves both sandy soil and clay soil. How about that?
So stop throwing out all of those organic materials, and start making compost today.