If you are like many people, you have heard about composting and you know it is a good recycling kind of thing, but that is where your knowledge ends. The basic definition of compost is, the decayed organic material used as a plant fertilizer. But how do you compost and why should you compost? Composting is an easy and useful tool for any home lawn and garden enthusiast.
What is Composting?
Composting helps to recycle organic materials and food scraps. It provides an exceptional supply of nutritious fertilizer for your plants along with being cost-effective. Composting helps to establish a healthy ecosystem in your yard, feeding insects which then feed the birds, bats, and so on.
How Do You Make Compost?
You start by designating an area or large bin somewhere in your yard, usually not near your doors or windows, because it will be odorous. There are different rules for composting based upon using a compost pile, compost bin or compost can. Here are some basic guidelines. FYI, if you are new to composting, it will take six months to one year before your compost pile will provide you with healthy fertilizer.
Collect yard trimmings such as fallen leaves, grass trimmings, small sticks and branches, weeds, and plants. You can also add chipped wood or mulch. Your base of the compost pile should be yard trimmings.
Kitchen scraps are a great addition to your compost pile, with the exception of meat, fish, bones, dairy products, or fatty food like oils, cheese or salad dressing. Eggshells are an acceptable addition. Coffee grounds, fruits, and vegetables, cores, seeds, and skins are all good composting materials. Non-glossy newspaper, dryer lint, sawdust, pet fur, and shredded cardboard are helpful in your compost pile as well. Do not compost any animal or insect droppings.
Pile materials loosely in the bin to ensure airflow through your compost pile. Larger wood chips will create air pockets needed for the microorganisms. Alternate your dry and wet compost materials. Be sure to keep it damp, but not soggy. When adding kitchen scraps, bury them in the pile to keep the critters away. Be sure to turn your compost pile every week or two to keep it aerated. Oxygen is a must in composting.
The Benefits of Composting
As a homeowner, there are benefits to composting. Adding compost to your lawn’s soil will help your ground retain moisture during the heat of summer. Compost will protect your lawn from weeds and insects without using harmful chemicals. A thin layer of organic compost is the organic way to a healthier lawn. It also is a great addition to your lawn before winter. It is rich in nutrients and will help preserve your lawn and plants during the harsh, cold winter months. It will support your soil for spring planting and the growing season
Compost fights thatch build-up, allowing your lawn to breathe and grow properly. Compost also deters soil compaction. The microorganisms found in compost help aerate the soil, improve the soil’s water-holding capacity, and protect the environment by recycling waste and avoiding chemical fertilizers. Composting is helpful to homeowners and the environment.
Composting is not difficult and really does not require much time. The benefits much outweigh the work involved, especially once your compost project is producing healthy, organic material. If you are interested in composting, you can get the basics from the EPA, online industry resources, or your local university’s agricultural department.