Beginners Guide to Composting

Did you know that you can lessen the need for fertilizers and help to reduce food waste? If you compost, you can reduce much of your food waste including vegetables, fruits, and eggshells, as well as other household items like tea bags, coffee grounds, paper, yard clippings, and leaves. You shouldn’t compost dairy products, meat products, coal, charcoal ash, fats, grease, or human or pet waste. Here are a few reasons as to why you wouldn’t want to be spreading those products on your garden and/or crops: they may contain parasites, attract animals due to the smell they produce, or not break down properly.

It’s important to have brown organic matter in forms such as dried leaves, branches, twigs, and sawdust, in addition to green organic matter which comes in the forms of grass clippings, fruits, veggies scraps, and coffee grounds. The “brown matter” materials add carbon to the soil and the “green matter” materials add nitrogen to the soil. It is important to have water in your compost, and it should be checked periodically. Water prevents the mixture from drying out and taking too long to break down. Overall, compost is fairly easy to maintain. During the first two weeks of the composting process, it’s important to turn your pile once every few days. After that, once a week will be enough to expose more surface area allowing more heat through the pile speeding up the breaking down process. You can set your pile up in a bin or a pile in your yard. Composting bins come in many different design options and prices.

Having a compost at home is one way to reduce your carbon footprint, and if you have little kids it may be a good way to get them excited about being green. For more information, you can check out the EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home.

Work Cited:

“Composting At Home.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 16 Oct. 2018, www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home.

-Paige Thorne

Everything Agriculture Writer