Composting – It’s Easy!
Have you ever wondered about composting? Composting can be an incredibly easy and rewarding way to reduce your carbon footprint. It leaves you with a valuable end product that can be used in your own garden, donated or even sold! It can also reduce your contribution to landfills by 20% or more depending on what type of things you eat.
Where: The first step to composting is having a place to compost. It doesn’t matter if you live inside the city or further out, there are plenty of options for storing compost while it cooks into rich black gold. If you are not in a hurry and have room you can always just pile your compost in the corner of a yard, near the garden is best. There are also a range of trash cans with holes, buckets, barrels and DIY containers. What you choose will be a personal decision based on personal preferences. They will all make compost.
How: The next step is to understand how compost is made. While you can toss any mix of compostable items in your bin it will break down faster if you mix it correctly. You need the right balance of green items (kitchen scraps, fresh grass clippings, chicken manure, etc.) and brown items (dried grass and weeds, leaves, wood shavings, etc.). Typically two parts brown to one part green is a good way to start your pile. You also want to keep it moist, but not overly wet. It should never have enough excess water that it drips when you squeeze a handful. For faster composting make sure you turn the pile weekly. I personally have a barrel composter that I give a few turns to daily.
What: So now that you know how to make compost, simply gather your compostable items from the kitchen and begin adding them to your pile (store them in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to take them out). A quick tip to start your pile for brown material is a bag of pelleted wood shavings they sell for animal bedding. It breaks down quickly since it is fine pieces and it also holds moisture very well. Wet it just enough to expand the pellets into moist sawdust and add your green material in. You can also purchase compost starters for an additional boost to your new compost pile. Include vegetable scraps, egg shells, and any plant matter. Avoid fatty foods and meat products as they don’t quickly break down and can attract unwanted critters. You can also compost used coffee and filters, shredded paper, paper towels, and cardboard products. Just remember the smaller the pieces you put in, the quicker they will break down. Also, to remain chemical free, make sure your paper products are not colored or printed (just recycle those). Cardboard should be free of printing, waxes, glue and staples.
Composting is a fun and valuable way to create something good out of your kitchen and yard waste. Get your kids involved and let them learn about improving and caring for the environment! Let them take out the compost and help you turn the pile over. Your family can plant their own garden with the finished results and enjoy fresh produce that is free of harmful chemicals.
We would love for you to share your composting advice in the comments below!
Jessica Wick is one of our very own E3Live employees, she enjoys teaching her three children about organic gardening, has a horse, a goat, 2 dogs and a flock of chickens that also love E3Live!