Regular mixing or turning of the compost and some water will help maintain the compost. You should also alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. The good news? A way that people ensure they’ve reached the entire pile is to move it into a new bin. Composting will result in rich, organic soil, which is often so much better than store bought soil amendments! You’re using natural compost instead of synthetic fertilizers, which carry the risk of overuse or misuse. Compost is a truly excellent way to utilize your waste vegetable scraps, reduce landfill, and to increase the productivity of your vegetable garden. When you're layering, you want the dry browns on the bottom with the wet greens on the top. Another option is a compost bin, sometimes called a ‘compost digester’. To keep things moving, you'll want to turn or rotate the pile, perhaps with a stick or spade. (Here's some more info on how to use worms and Bokashi.). If you have a green thumb and you like to give your plants their best, then you should start composting right now. Of course, it's totally fine if you want to give your food scraps to someone else to make compost. If you’re inspired to try your hand at home composting, Kelly Kuryk, Compost Winnipeg’s Project Manager, has some straightforward tips to help you get started. (That’s why so many bins are black—the color attracts the most sun. Compost is often referred to as ‘black gold’ or ‘nature’s antidote’ because it is a very natural and organic solution to help even weakened soil regain its nutrient level. Compost is not only great for the planet, but it's also amazing for your plants and garden. Or you can donate to your local community garden — just be sure to text ahead! When you make the first chop of the butt of that asparagus, boom, it could go right in there.". Typically the more compost you have, the faster it will go. In the world of composting you're inevitably gonna hear about "the greens and browns" — the two main ingredients for your mix. When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use. If you want to break down your food scraps in your own apartment, there are still options. Also tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells, old flowers — even human hair! Fill the bottom 4” … He says it "can just be an old milk carton. Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. How to Compost at Home There are many different ways to make a compost pile; we have provided the following for general reference. If you decide you want a faster, more efficient means of composting, try using a composting bin and introduce your own vermicompost system. Compost is the secret to many gardeners' thriving plants. Start the compost pile on bare earth, which allows worms and other good organisms to aerate it. Composting at home: Establishing your own basic compost pile. or vermicompost (worm compost). Yard trimmings and kitchen scraps use up valuable space in landfills—space that is running out fast! If you don't compost, you should start right now! The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has an excellent "compost trouble-shooting guide." Also, you can store the food scraps in a bag in your freezer or the back of the fridge. You can also buy a bin online or Digg says, "You could just create the pile naked!" These are common composting units for homes in residential areas where bins tend to be smaller, yet enclosed enough to discourage pests. Choose a site where you want to put up your compost pile. Compost bins are enclosed on the sides and top, and open on the bottom so they sit directly on the ground. "There are times when I made [my worm box] an ottoman so I could relax with my feet up on them! This compost bin is also a good choice if you don’t have counter space to spare in a small apartment or home. (Of course, in the age of the coronavirus, make sure your community garden is open, and practice social distancing.). Enriches soil, helping retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests. It should be a 3:1 ratio of carbon items to nitrogen. Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint. These add nitrogen — a crucial element for microbial growth. Diggs says when you start out you might be turning the compost once every seven to 10 days. All composting requires three basic ingredients: Your compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens. Find a Drop-Off Center If you don’t have a nice-sized outdoor space where you can store your composting long-term, but still want to make a difference, find a composting facility near you that you can bring your scraps to. Want more Life Kit? That's an easy way to avoid odors and insects in your kitchen. "Browns" are more carbon rich — think egg cartons, newspapers, dried leaves, and pine needles. Some municipalities will pick up your food scraps from your home. That will make sure microorganisms can do their job. Add brown and green materials as they are collected, making sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded. And the feel! Choose Your Bin: Your compost bin can be made from almost anything, but yard bags work quite well. Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs*, Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)*, Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides. Follow these five simple steps to compost at home like a pro. If you do not have space for an outdoor compost pile, you can compost materials indoors using a special type of bin, which you can buy at a local hardware store, gardening supplies store, or make yourself. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 30 percent of what we throw away, and could be composted instead. How to Compost at Home in the Backyard First, you’ll have to pick a dry, shady spot (ideally near a hose if that’s what you’re using to water your compost). "Bad compost smells, well, bad," he says, "It's like what a smelly trash can or dumpster smells like ... Basically, it smells like a landfill.". "All you need is a container you can seal and Bokashi mix, a colony of bacteria on grain." The audio portion of this story was produced by Audrey Nguyen. Benefits Of Composting At Home. Encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material. At most you might get a slight pickle-esque smell when the bins are close to full. Before you start piling on, recognize that there are two types of composting: cold and hot. A good thing to remember is that green materials are typically wet, and brown materials are typically dry. "I think keeping it simple," Diggs says. Sometimes two to one. Helpful tools include pitchforks, square-point shovels or machetes, and water hoses with a spray head. hide caption. And for every component to break down, it might be a year.". Collect your scraps and leftovers: Get a bucket — even a used ice-cream pail or a kitchen bowl — and use that to collect your fruit and veggie scraps, leftover rice, bread or pasta. Remember the fire analogy — you gotta make sure the air is flowing, that it's wet but not too soggy. Bins retain some warmth and moisture and make better compost more quickly, but even an open heap (not enclosed in a bin) will compost eventually. An old trash bin, an old wooden chest — just work with what you have available. Kidding!). Leonard Diggs is the director of operations at the Pie Ranch Farm in Pescadero, California. 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