Get Composting!

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Have you ever thought of building a compost pile for your home? It can be done in 4 easy steps! Building a personal composting program can help you create a sustainable home garden or flower bed.  The process of composting at home is very simple, all you need is the right space, a suitable bin, and organic materials (fancy name for your trash!). Then all you do is let everything “cook” to get the good stuff! Here are the 4 steps broken down and explained for you to get your compost pile started.

Step 1: Find a suitable bin for composting

You can purchase composting bins online or they can be found at any garden center.  There is a huge variety to choose from to suit all sort of needs.  If you don’t have a backyard or patio to keep your composting bin there are indoor bins that are available.  If you would like to construct your own compost bin that is an option also and the most cost effective choice.  One of the most common and easiest way to build a composting bin is to use old wooden shipping pallets to create an open top box. A bin created like this is an ideal size and can be done quickly.

Step 2: Find the right location

Your neighbors will greatly appreciate it if you don’t keep your composting bin next to their open windows! The process of decomposing organic waste will and can be a little smelly, so keep that in mind when deciding where to place your bin.  A good place to keep your bin is by your garden/flower beds so that you have easy access to the soil.  One thing you want to do is to make sure your bin to get very little shade during the day!

Step 3: Add organic waste materials

Adding organic waste to your new composting pile is as simple as taking out the garbage. Just be sure not to pack everything down too tightly.  In order for the composting bin to be successful is it needs oxygen. Packing down the waste will remove oxygen, which then causes the composting pile to produce a slimy mess! The best mixes of organic waste for composting are a balanced mix between fibrous materials and “green stuff” along with food waste.  Think leaves, wood chops, yard trimmings and then grass clips plus the food you waste.  You can also add paper products like cardboard rolls, coffee filters and shredded newspaper. You might not want to add dairy products, oils or meat or fish bones as they usually tend to cause problems with smell and can attract wild animals. 

Step 4: Aerate and cook

Your compost pile will need a little bit of water and a little bit of air over time to complete the “cooking” process.  You can easily turn over the pile with a pitch fork to add the extra air needed.  Getting the amount of water right can be a little bit trickier.  You don’t what too much!  Adding lots of fresh, green grass clippings is an easy way to add enough water.  Otherwise just add a little bit of water with the hose.  If you live somewhere where it rains a lot you may want to consider a rain guard for over your compost pile so it doesn’t get too soggy.  If you notice that your compost pile is warm this is a good thing! That means that the microbes that are doing the work of decomposing your compost produce heat when they eat.  The natural rise of heat also aids the breakdown of the materials! So don’t worry this is a good thing!

Now that you have these 4 easy steps you can get started on your compost pile! Just what your garden and flower bed have been waiting for!