What is Composting and How Do I Do It?

What is Composting and How Do I Do It?

You’ve heard there are some amazing benefits to composting, but you don’t know how to do it. That’s ok, we’ve got some steps for you to follow.

Thankfully, there are many experts that can help guide us regarding this gardening activity. Compost is made of decomposed organic substances. This decomposition of organic materials creates fertile, soft, dark soil that helps plants thrive whether this material is used in the garden or in your yard.

If You Want to Reduce Your Waste, Start Composting

Studies show that nearly 700 pounds of waste per household can be turned into compost instead of putting in trash bags every year. Compost is good for the environment and allows your home to stop sending organic materials to the landfill while using these items once broken down, in your gardens and on your lawn. If you want to have a beautiful flower garden next year, you’ll want to start the compost process right away.

Prepare the Site for the Bins

Whether you want to use a single compost bin or you’re looking to be a bit more aggressive with several of them, you need to prepare the site for this process. To do this, you need to remove grass and weeds form the area and turn the soil about 8-inches down to allow worms and microorganisms to reach the compost materials. Once you’ve prepared the site, you can set the bin on the site. This bin controls the odors and allows the area to look pleasing, which the inside of the bin certainly isn’t. If you have dogs or wildlife in your area, you want to install chicken wire around the bin to keep animals out.

Get Some Worms

Worms are the workhorse of your compost bin and you don’t want to leave things to chance. Don’t dig up the soil and expect the worms to suddenly arrive, it doesn’t work that way. When you want to be successful at composting, you’ll want to purchase some worms to put in the bin. Of course, you can put worms you collect after a rain in the bin, but its better to buy some of these creatures and let them get to work for you. The tiger worm is the most efficient animal for this job and it will begin to eat away at the organic material to make sure you have wonderful soil for your future plants.

You Need the Right Food for Your Working Worms

If you’re wondering whether or not composted soil is basically worm poop, it is. Of course, that shouldn’t be a problem for you because it is some of the best stuff for all of your plants. The right materials need to be placed in your bin to ensure your worms can get the job done. Some of the best things to put in this bin include vegetable peelings, fruit waste, teabags, plant prunings, and grass clippings. You can also put some cardboard, egg boxes, paper, and fallen leaves in the bin. This second group break down a little slower, but provide the fiber needed to build a wonderful mixture of soil for you to use during your next planting season.

Avoid the Wrong Items in Your Bin

Some items you think are organic and would make great compost won’t at all. These items include meat and dairy products. You also don’t want to add cat litter or dog poop or diapers. These items could lead to pests ending up in your bin. It’s also not a good idea to toss in dandelions or thistle, they don’t break down at all. Stick to the simple items mentioned above and you’ll have a bin that works great and gives you the right soil for your future planting needs.

You’ll Need to Work on the Balance

When composting, you can’t stick to only one type of organic material and get the results you desire. The right balance helps you have an excellent soil product to use later. If you have compost that feels too wet, you need to add more browns but if its too dry, you need to add some green stuff. It’s also important to have a nice air mixture in the bin. This is done by adding scrunched up bits of cardboard or by mixing the contents of the bin to put more air into the mixture.

Boost Your System for Some Great Compost

Some enzymes you can buy to put in the bin will help activate the composting process. These enzymes help turn your grass, leaves, and garden waste into dark, rich, crumbly compost in half the time. A small amount of water and the enzymes together will allow the compost to complete the process in only 10 weeks. This is a great item to use to revive dead heaps or partially composted materials.

Don’t Overdo it with the Leaves

Fallen leaves do make great materials for your compost bin, but if you have a large number of leaves, you’ll want to put some in a leaf bag to get rid of them. You don’t want to overdo the leaves in the mixture. You can also use your leaves as a soil improver in potting mixes that give you an easy source of extra materials for your planting time.

Don’t Be Afraid of a Little Slice and Dice

The smaller the pieces of the materials you put in your compost bin, the sooner it will be processed down to the rich soil material you desire. This means chopping up the items you’ll put in the composter to allow the worms to get to work for you. This gives the worms more surface area to work with, which breaks down the materials much faster.

Your Compost Bin Needs Water

When selecting the location of your bin or pile, you need access to a water source. This makes it easier for you to put water in the mix and keep things moist. It’s important for your compost to be moist and the moisture comes from the water you put into the bin.

Where Will the Compost Collect?

If you’re successful at composting, you’ll have a dark brown, nearly black soil-like layer of compost at the bottom of the bin when it’s time to feed your plants in the gardens. This material is rich with nutrients and allows you to feed your flower beds without needing any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. This is a great alternative and it can help you have some of the best veggies in the area when it’s time to harvest.

Are you ready to start composting? Get your bin and get started saving your waste to be reused in your plant beds next season.

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