When you think about composting, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
The term composting is a very broad one, as you can actually compost any type of organic matter, including kitchen scraps, dead leaves and weeds, paper products, and even pet food waste.
But just what is compost, and why is it such an important part of any gardening routine?
What Is Compost?
Compost is simply a form of organic fertilizer, where the waste from your food and animal care is converted into nutrient-rich soil, this can be stored in a pile, compost bin, or other designated storage device.
To make your own compost, all you need is a little bit of room, some peat moss, and a couple of days.
Don’t add more water than the peat can hold, because you will end up having a wet pile that won’t decompose properly. This will also result in a poor quality of product.
For more information on composting, and which storage bins are best for this, check out reputable sources like Enviroinc.
Composting is an ecosystem that supports a network of microorganisms and other bacteria. Just like you, they need air, food, and water.
Whatever method of composting that you choose, you’ll want to provide these essential composting basics, or life necessities for your compost heap.
If you’re looking for a simple way to make a compost pile, then you can use kitchen leftovers, newspaper, cardboard, and even paper towels, although some people have tried to compost using just plain old garbage, but this doesn’t work very well.
If you want a more successful compost heap, then you need a good compost pile plan, which should include knowing what to compost, when to compost, how much compost to put in, the type of container you should purchase, and other important details.
What Can You Compost?
Another important thing you need to know is the kind of material you want to compost. What are the best materials to put into your compost pile?
You can choose from vegetable scraps, fruit peels, grass clippings, leaves, pine needles, wood chips, paper, and hay, to name a few.
Some people like to mix things up a little by putting different types of material together, such as vegetable scraps with paper. Some people choose to combine materials into one pile.
It really depends on what you want to do and how much space is available in your backyard.
You also need to know the correct amount of materials to put in your compost pile, because there are different amounts of needed to complete the decomposition process.
You need a little bit of everything, including compost, wood chips, wood shavings, grass clippings, paper, cardboard, vegetable scraps, manure, grass, peat moss, wood, plant debris, sawdust, or wood chips.
To make the perfect compost pile, you want to mix at least three parts biodegradable materials and two parts wood. This gives you the ideal mixture to break down your material and get the most nutrients out of it.
What Can’t You Compost?
While it’s important to know what you can compost, you should also know what you can’t. If you try to compost items that can’t be included, then you might compromise the quality of your compost and it may do more harm than good.
There are a number of materials and products that can’t, or shouldn’t be composted, and some of them are: charcoal, dairy products, meat scraps, insect infected plants, and yard trimmings coated with pesticides.
The main reasons why you shouldn’t attempt composting these products is that they could attract rodents, violent predatory animals, or insects that can damage the quality of your yard or home.
For products like these, it would be advisable to figure out other ways to get rid of them in more environmentally friendly ways.
What Can You Use For Your Compost?
While some people may simply throw the compost in a pile and continue adding to said pile, there are alternatives to this that can actually benefit your compost quality and lead to a healthy yard.
Make sure your compost is located in a shaded area of your yard, and doesn’t have too much contact with the elements as too much moisture can lead to rot or other complications.
If you’re concerned about animals getting into your compost, or you have children and don’t want them playing with it, it is possible to throw this pile in a barrel, as this will keep your compost collected, and can benefit your compost as it is not exposed to the elements directly.
Granted, with this method you want to make sure you are still able to stir your compost to ensure all of it is decomposing correctly, so you get a stick exclusively for this purpose. Every time you add to the pile, give it a stir.
There are also compost barrels designed for this specific use, and have features that make your life easier. Some of these are shaped like a wheel and sit on a stand as to not roll away.
Simply open the door, dump in your compost, and give the “wheel” a turn. This will appropriately mix up your compost and keep it away from the elements.
Overall, composting can be quite beneficial to the health of your garden, or yard, and can be a great way to teach your children how, and what, to compost.
This knowledge is beneficial as it limits what goes into the landfills and help your garden’s ecosystem as well.