If you’re gardening, you should also be composting. Once you learn how to compost you’ll have a simple, easy and free way to add quality nutrients to your soil, and better soil means happier plants!
But the thing I love most about composting, is that is takes what would normally be scraps that would end up in the trashcan and re-purposes them.
It gives them a second life.
That banana that you ate will go to fuel you, and the peel will go to fuel your garden! It’s a perfect cycle and nothing gets wasted.
Take it another level and give the scraps to your backyard chickens, let them mix it with their compostable bedding, eat what they will and poop on the rest, and then compost that nitrogen-rich mix!
Composting can be as simple or as complex as you make it. For the interest of today’s post, we’re going to keep it simple.
A compost pile can be everything from a section of your yard, fenced with pallets, or a compost bin on a frame that you can “tumble”. Use whatever works for you.
We actually have several composting areas on our homestead: one fenced in by pallets, one in a black plastic box for our vermicomposting, and simply a pile of horse manure composting in the open.
It’s far enough away from the house not to attract bugs or for the smell to be offensive, but close enough that it’s a quick walk from the kitchen.
I would also, however, recommend keeping a compost pail in your kitchen for simplicity.
This can be anything from a Lowes 5 gallon bucket, to a small metal feedbin, to a fancy, ornate compost bucket that doubles as decoration.
Use this to collect your daily scraps and then walk it out to the large pile every day or every few days.
This is the one I have: 1.3 gallon compost bin. I like that it’s attractive enough to keep on my counter, which means the hubby and kids are more likely to use it too!
Different scraps decompose at different rates. To speed along the process, be sure to cut or break the scraps into smaller pieces.
How to Make Compost
- Add your kitchen scraps, lawn clippings, fallen leaves, etc. to your pile.
- Keep pile moist, but not soaking. You may need to water and cover it to retrain the moisture during the hot summer months.
- Turn your compost every few months to add some air to the mix and break up any lumps that may have formed
Depending on what you’ve added, it will take a few months to develop into a compost you can add back into your garden.
What to Compost
- fruit and vegetable scraps
- grass clippings
- lawn & garden weeds
- straw or hay
- pine needles
- flower cuttings
- wood ash
- chicken manure
- coffee grounds
- tea leaves
- newspaper & shredded paper
What NOT To Compost
- any meat or bones
- black walnut leaves (these are poisonous)
- diseased plants
- invasive weeds