Your Garden: Composting 101comments (3) August 1st, 2016
Why should you compost?
When compost is finished, it's a garden fertilizer or soil amendment that you can use absolutely free. Compost is mild in nature, so it doesn't treat plants as harshly as chemical equivalents you might buy do. Soil that has compost added to it has better texture, and water retention and drainage are both seriously improved.
Pick your compost bin:
When it comes to choosing a compost bin, you have two choices. You can either scour the Internet for do-it-yourself options, or you can buy one. One option saves you money obviously, but spending money on one does save you a lot of time, especially if project skills aren't your personal forte and you want the compost tumbler for composting.
Consider your compost bin the family pet:
When you get everyone in the home to think of the compost bin as a family pet, you accomplish two goals. First, everyone thinks of it as a living being that is better off not neglected. Second, you'll remember to figure out how to provide it a diet that is appropriately balanced.
A balanced diet for a compost bin really comes down to two basic food groups: browns and greens. Browns are typically drier materials with a lot of carbon content, whereas greens sport more nitrogen and are on the wetter end of the spectrum.
Aim for a 50/50 mix of greens versus browns. Go by weight more than volume. Greens usually weigh more since they are wetter, so a good ratio is two to even three times as many brown buckets for each green bucket you add in.
Green 'foods' for the compost diet:
Green options include coffee filters and grounds, tea leaves and bags, fresh lawn and garden clippings, houseplants, and scraps of fruits and veggies.
Brown 'foods' for the compost diet:
Brown options include animal fur, human hair, paper, paper tubes and towels, shredded newspaper if the inks are safe, dry leaves, dry hay, straw, shells from eggs and nuts, and sawdust or wood-chips from untreated lumber.
Things to never compost:
Anything that has pesticides has to be avoided, as do plants that are diseased and weed seeds. Pet litter is a no-no, as are any and all bones. Avoid grease, oily foods, dairy products, and proteins like fish, meat, and eggs.
Tips for success:
Chop all materials, green or brown, into tiny chunks; these compost faster. If you want to minimize odors and flies, layer brown material over the green. A mulching mower can help you make your compost fine. Cut off seed pods and heads from whole plants prior to composting. Don't add plant roots if a whole new plant might sprout up in the compost pile.
posted in: garden, compost, Composting