Composting is not only a great way to reduce waste, but also a nifty way to give back some love to vegetables! Composting at home means that most of the food waste produced can go back into your garden or potted plants as fertile soil. The key to good composting is maintaining a right balance of ingredients, moisture and air flow. Following these do’s and don’ts will help you set up the ultimate home composting unit. Here are 10 tips to make you a composting pro.
1. Right Location
When you buy a compost bin, the location is of paramount importance. It’s a good idea to get a sturdy, earthen composting bin that is rodent and raccoon proof. Make sure you keep your compost bin in a relatively dry place where the stench doesn’t waft into the house. The corner of the garage or the back porch is a good idea.
2. Balancing Browns and Greens
Your compost should have an even balance of brown, carbon rich material and green, nitrogenous material. Vegetable waste, fruit waste and grass pruning counts as greens. Dry leaves, egg shells and cardboard shreds are browns. A good balance of greens and browns makes the perfect compost.
3. The In and Out of Composting
Wondering what all you can compost? Fruit peels, vegetable waste, tea bags and even cardboard egg boxes are a good idea. Even the dry leaves of autumn are good ingredients. Meat and dairy is a bad idea. Any metal, plastic, diapers or kitty litter is a strict NO.
4. Let it Breathe
Airing your compost twice a month evens out the rate of oxidation of your compost. It ensures that the bottom of the compost doesn’t stagnate and allows an even and thorough composting. Use a long handled scoop to thoroughly mix the compost.
5. Creepy Crawly Goodness
Worms love damp, dark rotting material. This means that they are excellent compost makers. Add a few tiger worms or earthworms and let them do the hard work for you. Make sure there are no maggots and flies in your compost. These are not the right kind of worms for the job!
6. The Right Level of Wetness
It’s important to maintain the right moisture balance while composting. The ideal level of moisture is around 40 to 50 percent. If it is too wet, add some dry brown leaves. If you live in a very dry place, sprinkle some water every few days to prevent the compost from drying up.
7. Shred It Up
When adding pruning leaves and peels, shred them up before adding to the compost. More surface area means much faster composting. It’s harder for bigger particles to decay when compared to smaller snippets. Make your compost as fine as possible to ensure good results.
8. Divide to Multiply
If you have one bin of already decaying compost, add new materials into a new bin. Adding fresh material haphazardly can cause an imbalance in the browns and greens of your compost. By dividing your compost piles, you ensure that you have several piles of good compost instead of a single pile of average compost.
9. Speed it Up
There are compost activators available that can boost the speed of composting significantly. A small amount dissolved in water and added to the compost can boost the process by over 30%. Compost activators provide essential enzymes to break down the compost quickly.
10. Finishing it Up
Knowing when your compost is done is important. Once the mixture turns dark brown to black and has a rich, spongy texture, your compost is ready. Don’t add fresh material into the bin once your compost is ready. However, it is imperative to get your soil checked before you use any of it for preparing your compost. So, get this done by collecting the soil from different areas of your lawn to have a perfect soil test result.
Compost is a very rich source of nutrients for your garden and flower beds. It reduces your need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. So, now that you’re all set to make the ultimate compost, go ahead and fuel the nature lover within you!