Composting: A Beginner’s Guide

WHile compost for gardening has been praised for generations, it seems most people are equipping their kitchens and backyards with compost bins in an attempt to live a more eco-conscious life. Have a plot? Keep reading to learn more about composting at home.

What is organic compost?

Composting is the practice of recycling waste organic waste. Rebecca Sears, CMO and said: “Composting is a great way to recycle food leftovers from your kitchen, as well as your yard waste, to create a nutrient-rich soil amendment that can be Dramatically improve the growth of plants in your garden and yard. Resident Green Thumb in Ferry-Morse.

What can be annealed?

Composting waste is classified as green or brown. When green scraps include items like fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds, and stale bread, brown scraps refer to fallen leaves, pieces of hay, brown paper bags, and paper towels. and used napkins (not treated with cleaning products or grease) and more.

In general, Sears says that almost all kitchen scraps are fair game, with the exception of meat, dairy, and cooked foods. “The more natural ingredients we use, such as shredded vegetables and fruit, the better,” she says.

What are the three things you shouldn’t compost?

Of course, mistakes in the composting process will happen and there are some items that should never be put in your compost bin. “Always make sure to avoid any plastic or styrofoam from getting into your mix, as these materials are not biodegradable and will not break down properly like your other compost ingredients,” says Sears. She points out that oil should also be avoided.

Which plants should not be composted?

In addition to good materials for the kitchen and home, there are some plants that should not be composted. Just as you should never throw chemically coated paper towels in your compost bin, plants that have been treated with pesticides and/or preservatives should be discarded. Combining them can ruin your entire crate.

Benefits of composting

Composting has a multitude of benefits. “There are many benefits of composting, including reducing waste sent to landfills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving soil health and fertility, reducing erosion and [diminishing] Tucker Jones, product engineer for OXO, said demand for fertilizers and pesticides was produced. “We have found through testing and in our focus groups that composting in the kitchen reduces odors, [as well]because one should separate the organic waste from the conventional waste, preventing the anaerobic digestion that creates those nasty orders.”

Arguably, the most lauded benefit of composting is its effect on gardens. According to Sears, composting creates an extremely nutrient-rich alternative to fertilizer. When you add it to your pots and garden beds, she says it creates healthier soil for your plants to thrive in. Plus, it helps prevent water loss and soil erosion, so it can make caring for your garden less stressful and time-consuming. consumption for a long time.

How to start composting

Intrigued by the environmental impact and personal benefits of composting? It’s time to learn how to start composting. Fortunately, it’s a pretty simple process. “Composting is simple, requires minimal effort and expertise to start incorporating into your daily routine,” says Sears.

To start composting, you’ll need a bin to collect leftovers and other organic materials. “Your compost bins can be simple and there are plenty of ways to make your own if you don’t want to buy one,” says Sears. (You can learn how to build a compost bin here.)

Once you’ve chosen your trash, it’s time to find a home for it. According to Sears, placing your compost bin in an area with direct sunlight is best, as the compost mix will be activated by heat. “Make sure you have a shovel or another type of mixing device, as occasionally mixing your compost will help speed up the decomposition process,” she says.

It’s worth noting: There are also compost bins on the countertop. Since running out of the compost bin every time you cook can quickly get in the way, countertop compost bins will help disrupt the process. Some of these tabletop compost bins (such as the Simplehuman Compost Caddy, $44, and the OXO Easy-Clean Compost Bin, $23—which we reviewed) are designed to hold leftovers only for food. Until you have the opportunity to transfer them to a larger outdoor bin, others (such as Lomi Composter, $627) are designed to accelerate decomposition right on your countertop.

How to layer compost bins

Remember how we mentioned that composting is broken down into brown and green crumbs? This variety is necessary to fully stack a crate. “Compost needs four essential ingredients to succeed: nitrogen (green), carbon (brown), oxygen, and water,” says Sears. “Understanding how best to layer these ingredients will allow gardeners to create the most effective compost material for their garden.”

With that in mind, Sears says the first layer of compost should be poured with raw materials, like sticks and marks. These will help promote drainage, she says. “From there, you can start building up the green and brown layers, which will be the bulk of the compost. A general rule of thumb about the green to brown ratio is one-third green to two-thirds brown, as too much green can make the compost soggy while Too much brown will dry out the stool.”

However, it’s important to note that layering is only important if you’re composting at home. If you’re collecting food or gardening scraps and taking them to a composting program, they’ll usually grade it for you. Just make sure to separate your browns and greens to make them as simple as possible.

“If you are making your own compost at home, alternating brown and green materials in a bin or compost pile can help balance the carbon-nitrogen ratio,” says Jones. “This ensures good aeration, which is important for the composting process because it allows air [to be] circulated. Layering also helps control moisture and reduce odors.”

How long does it take to compost?

How long it takes to compost in a bin depends on the bin, the contents inside, and the frequency of mixing. “In general, if you’re starting with a reasonable ratio of brown to green material and mixing regularly, you should have compost ready within two to three months,” says Jones. “If you have a regular no-intervention plan, it can take up to one to two years to break completely.”

Since readiness times vary greatly between compost bins, Sears has a trick. “You’ll know your compost is ready to use when it’s a dark brown, easily crumpled in your hands, a process that can take anywhere from a few months to several years,” she says.

But remember: This is specifically for vintage outdoor composting bins that run on heat from the sun. High-tech benchtop composters can produce compost in just a few hours. For example, Vitamix’s FoodCycler ($600) can break down leftovers overnight, turning them into a fine dry powder that mixes well with the soil.

What can I add to my compost to speed it up?

The trick to speeding up your composting process is to mix layers efficiently and often. While adding more yard waste to your compost bin can help speed up the process, reducing composting time from one year to just four to six months, Sears says adding more nitrogen-rich materials (i.e. green leftovers) can also improve. speed. “However, these additional green materials can often cause a slight odor and must be monitored carefully, as too much green material puts the compost at risk of turning anaerobic.

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