Compost basics are easy to learn and to implement and the results are positive for you, your garden, and your environment. Composting is a simple thing that any small gardener can do and its effect on the environment is huge.
Basically instead of throwing your kitchen scraps (fruit and vegetable trimmings, eggshells, and coffee grounds) in the garbage, put them in a covered container on your cupboard. The covered container can be as simple as a gallon sized plastic container with a top to a decorated jar bought just for the purpose.
From there put them on a compost pile or bin in your back yard. Add wood chips, straw, hay, grass (only non- fertilized ones though) or leaf clippings and a new layer of dirt. Flip occasionally with a pitch fork and let it turn into nutrient rich compost to fertilize your garden cheaply and organically.
The Sunday, February 13, 2011 edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a very comprehensive article on volunteers that make compost in an urban environment for the city of Milwaukee.
I applaud these volunteers and hope their dedication and a little inspiration from me will help you to consider having your own compost pile.
It is not expensive to start a compost pile and it doesn’t take a lot of space. It can be as simple as a small pile in the corner of your garden. If you want to enclose it, it’s simple to do with two by fours and a hammer and nails.
There are a lot of premade bins available too. They range from simple to complex with layers and a method of turning your compost. It depends totally on how much you want to spend and how much work you want or are able to do yourself.
If you have a little more time and space you might even want to have three bins. In a three bin system you have new scraps in the first, developing compost in the second, and ready to use compost in the third.
I believe that some of the pre-made bins do this for you. You put your kitchen scraps in the top, stir it with attached handle and remove your finished compost from a door in the bottom. How simple is that? You do the easy part of collecting your kitchen scraps and microbes do the hard work of creating free fertilizer, and you then use the organic mulch to grow new beautiful flowers and vegetables.
In the process you have decreased your carbon footprint, prevented pounds of garbage from entering our landfills, saved money on buying fertilizer and saved money processing garbage in the land fill. It’s a win, win situation for everyone.
Exactly how does this happen? Well, basically, your food scraps have high nitrogen content. They also contain water. When you layer them with dry stuff like dead leaves (newspaper works, too), it builds up heat and both things start to decay. Adding dirt and turning your compost weekly adds air and microbes to the mix and voila, compost!
So there you have it. Compost basics are easy to learn, easy to implement, and easy on our environment. Good luck creating your own compost bin this season. Share with me your own composting story at gardeningwithjulie.com.
Fall Garden Chores
Vegetable Garden Harvest
Friend and Family Gardens
Potting Soil and Fertilizer
Return from Compost Basics to the Gardening with Julie" homepage.