Composting 101 – Learning the basics of composting will save you money when it comes to your fertilizing budget. In fact, you can spend zero dollars to make your own garden produce more plentiful and healthier. You will be using your own kitchen waste to make your soil healthier and the environment better just by practicing some basic composting tips.
Here are some important things to consider about composting:
Americans are starting to recognize that we are leaving a legacy of overflowing landfills and contaminated waters to our children and grandchildren. That is why experts predict that within the next decade, composting will be as widespread as recycling cans in households and industries across the United States. Many countries are already actively participating in this endeavor.
Do you know that the kitchen and yard waste of American households makes up 30% of the nation’s total waste? Our environment choices have grown so limited that more and more states have been legislating measures to reduce waste that ends up in public landfills. If we were all to practice basic composting we could cut close to a third of the volume that ends up in our shrinking landfills.
In part, we should compost because pretty soon, we could have no choice.
It just doesn’t make sense to spend on fertilizer when you regularly throw away material that you can use as a better substitute! Using compost is one of the best things you can do for your soil to improve it’s texture, composition, aeration (especially for clayey soil), and water-bearing qualities (particularly for sandy soil).
Even basic composting can improve fertility and plant health many times over. Your garden’s health depends on its soil’s microorganisms, which composting feeds in a natural way. Composting can help you completely do away with commercial plant fertilizers.
How to Start
You can dig a hole in the ground, build a square mesh-enclosure with stakes, or use a barrel or garbage can to pile up compost.
Start with plant waste, twigs, and dried, dead weeds. You can use vegetable and fruit scraps from your kitchen, but alternate dry and wet material and soil, lightly tamping down three-inch layers each time. Speed up decomposition by using farm manure; but never use cat or dog manure.
A good rule of thumb would be: 3 parts brown to 1 part green ingredients. Then, you need to water each layer – lightly if in wet weather, thoroughly if in dry. Turn the pile every couple of weeks.
Do not put processed food scraps in your compost pile; neither should you use any meat, fat, or dairy products (apart from crushed eggshells). Bread is fine, unless it has peanut butter or mayonnaise.
After a couple of months, you can start using your compost – sooner if you can no longer distinguish the ingredients in the dark substance.
Basic composting will reap you such immediate, cost-efficient benefits that you’ll wonder why you’ve never tried it before!