Composting, while incredibly popular in many communities, can be a rather intimidating new task to start. It might seem like you’re committing to putting a mountain of trash and waste into your backyard! However, if you’re dedicated to improving both the environment and your garden, trying to compost can be a great task and not near as smelly as you might think! Getting started isn’t as hard as it seems and once you’re started it is simple to keep a healthy pile going all year long. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on turning your table scraps into the perfect compost for your home and yard.
Step 1: Pick Your Composting Spot
The first and most important step in starting to compost is finding the perfect spot. No matter if you plan to have a pile or use a bin to keep things contained, the spot you choose matters! It’s best to choose a location close to a door for easy access, but also somewhere with good drainage and shade. The shade prevents your compost from getting too dry, especially in the warmer months and keeps it cool on hot days, which supports microorganisms as they work their composting magic!
Step 2: Choose Your Compost Bin
Next up, it’s time to select your compost bin. Various options are available, from basic homemade bins made of pallets to fancy commercial compost tumblers. You can even find countertop compost containers if you’re tight on outdoor space. Whatever you choose, make sure it allows for proper airflow and drainage to keep the composting process efficient.
Step 3: Gather Composting Materials
Composting uses a combination of “green” and “brown” materials. Green materials include kitchen scraps like vegetable peels, fruit cores, coffee grounds and eggshells. Brown materials consist of things such as dry leaves, twigs, newspaper shreds, and cardboard. Avoid adding meat, dairy, or oily items, as they may attract pests due to smell and slow down the composting process.
Step 4: Layer and Mix
Now comes the most rewarding part – building your compost pile! Start by laying down a layer of brown materials as the base, around 6-8 inches thick. Then, add a layer of green materials about 2-3 inches thick. Keep layering brown and green materials alternately until your pile is about three feet high. Mixing the materials helps the compost break down faster, so feel free to give it a good stir every few weeks.
Step 5: Patience is Key
Composting is a natural process that relies on microorganisms and worms to succeed. Depending on the conditions, your compost should be ready in 2 to 6 months. This may seem like a long process, but composting is truly worth the wait!
Once your compost is ready, the rich, dark, crumbly compost becomes a superfood for your plants, supplying them with the nutrients they need to flourish. Spread the compost around your garden beds, mix it with potting soil for indoor plants, or even use it as mulch to protect your soil and retain moisture all year long. Happy Gardening!