Composting at home is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Not only does composting cut down on kitchen waste and trash, it also creates nutrient-rich soil for your garden (Planet Natural Research Centre).
At the Eminence Certified Organic Farm any plants and produce that can’t be used in product formulas or sold at the local farmers market are composted and used to feed the soil. The average garbage can is more than 35% full of kitchen scraps, which could all be composted instead of ending up in the landfill (eartheasy). Read on for the Eminence Guide on how to help out the planet by composting at home.
What Is Composting?
Composting often conjures an image of massive piles of food scraps and grass clippings full of wriggling worms. While this is a fantastic option, composting doesn’t need to take up a great deal of space or time. Composting is the process of transforming biodegradable materials you may often throw into the garbage into humus. Humus is the best soil builder available to feed your flowers, veggies and lawn (Better Homes & Gardens). Whether big or small, your compost pile will make your plants happy.
How To Compost At Home
Composting at home is easier and tidier than you may think. To ensure you have a healthy compost pile, choose an area indoors or outdoors with reasonable air flow, partial sunlight and ensure you have equal amounts of carbon and nitrogen rich materials to avoid any unappealing smells (Compost Guide).
Decide If Cold, Hot Or Vermicomposting Is Best For You
There are three main categories of composting. Each create nutrient rich soil and each require varying levels of time and maintenance. Choosing the method that best suits your lifestyle is the first step to start composting. Cold composting consists of simply placing organic materials in a receptacle or pile and allowing them to naturally decompose. This can take up to a year, but requires the least amount of maintenance.
Hot composting requires nitrogen, carbon, air and water. While a much faster process (taking only a few months to decompose), hot compost requires more maintenance as the compost will need to be watered and turned. Vermicomposting – or worm composting – introduces redworms into the process. While a bit slower than hot composting, vermicompost does not require you to manually turn the compost – the worms do the work for you!
Pick Out A Composting Container
There are many options available for compost containers, with four general categories noted here. Budget, available space and the type of composting chosen will impact which container is most appropriate to compost at home. Tumblers are a great option for those with limited space. The tumbler does just that: It tumbles the compost, ensuring new materials are mixed with old so that you do not need to manually mix the compost.
Bins are a low cost, versatile option. Available in a variety of sizes, depending on the bin these are best used for cold or worm composting as they can be difficult to mix (eartheasy). There are many DIY options as well and if you’re handy with a drill, it is fairly straightforward to make your own worm composter with a few large plastic bins. Of course, if you have ample outdoor space a classic compost pile is a fantastic option for hot composting, as it provides the most airflow and is easy to turn.
Avoid Composting These Items
Regardless of the type of composting or container chosen, to keep a happy and healthy compost pile it is crucial to avoid adding certain items. Not only are they more likely to attract troublesome pests, but they also smell unpleasant during decomposition. Do not include:
- Animal products (including dairy, meat or bones)
- Pet droppings
- Synthetic chemicals
- Pressure-treated wood scraps; or
- Sickly plant materials.
While some of these items are organic materials, they will throw off the chemistry of your compost and result in less nutrient-dense material.
How To Use Your Compost
With these three considerations, all that is left is time. Over time and with proper care, your compost will break down into a dry brown crumbly consistency that is perfect for the garden. So how do you use your compost? Use it as mulch when first planting flower beds and as an alternative to fertilizer throughout the growing season. If you’re only creating compost for potted plants, see if you are able to donate any extra you have to community gardens or parks.
Eminence Organics cares deeply about our impact on the environment and would love to hear why being green matters to you. Do you compost at home? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments below or join us on social media at Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | G+.