If you are wondering how to compost or how to even get started composting, it’s very simple. In my personal opinion, composting is a very responsible habit that can benefit any lifestyle and there is no excuse to not participate. Why? Because it means you are wasting less and replenishing our fine earth with nutrients. Whether you live in an apartment or on a farm, composting has its place and is an important habit to develop.
Did you know that there are more and more urban gardens and compost cropping up around the country and the world? Did you know that you can easily compost without any fuss and it’s a great way to ensure that you are wasting less? Did you know that throwing away compostable materials like paper, cardboard, and plant-based food products just means it will sit in a landfill and not decompose properly to replenish the earth? All that being said, are you thinking about composting yet?! Let me give you a few tips to get you started.
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We use the Garden Gourmet as a small starter. This was a gift and is great for small homes. We plan on building our own compost area, but it just hasn’t happened in the hectic life that has happened in the past couple of years. Ultimately, there are a lot of options for purchase, but it’s also pretty easy to build one too.
Composting with your kids is also a great idea! It gets them in the mindset to not waste and to analyze their own waste to see what can go in recycling and what can go in the compost pile. Considering even old cotton socks with holes can be composted, this is a great sorting activity for kids young and old.
Everything from toilet paper rolls to banana peels and even lint and old cotton shirts and socks can go into a compost. Furthermore, even if you do not subscribe to the “grow food, not lawns” philosophy and you don’t even have a vegetable garden, you can still use compost for flower beds and other outdoor landscaping. Or maybe you can compost and give to a gardening neighbor!
Not only do we seem to be building a nice ecosystem habitat for the creatures in our area, but we have the fruit flies controlled, and our compost seems to be thriving. It has been up for over a year now and we have had no known issues.
Tips for how to compost successfully
- Make sure you follow the 3:1:1 rule.
- 3 parts brown (dead stuff, like cardboard)
- 1 part green (alive stuff, like vegetable scraps)
- 1 part fertilizer (cow and rabbit dung are awesome, even human urine is great for composting)
- Wrap your scraps in a paper bag to cut down on fruit flies
- Though many recommend newspaper, I feel like tightly wrapping it is more effective. I also like wrapping my scraps because not only does it keep the flies away but it also means I am always putting “brown” in with all my “green”. (This is one reason why I don’t feel as bad when I forget my re-usable bags because I just grab some paper bags).
- Keep it wet. I hose mine down a lot and also dump in a container of water with each new addition.
- Throw in the worms you find
- Keep out disease-loving plants like tomatoes
- Make sure it’s getting air
- Some people make them with pallets, and the spacing allows for air. Ours was a gift from my parents and it was pre-made with aeration holes. You can also drill in holes if you’re making it some other way.
- Keep an indoor composter so that you don’t have to constantly go outside. My wonderful brother and sister-in-law bought me a ceramic counter top compost bin for Christmas and I LOVE it. I fill it with greens and browns from my days and then once it’s full I fill it with water and dump it in my compost bin. I do this every 2 or 3 days. This is also a great way to get my toddler involved! She likes to take the compost out with me to the big bin.
Examples of “Green” items
- Coffee grounds
- Banana peels
- Eggs (especially if your soil needs calcium)
- Scraps from fruits and veggies
- Grass clippings
- Anything that emits nitrogen
Examples of “Brown” Items
- Dryer Lint
- Vacuum waste
- Old rags
- Egg cartons
- Paper and Cardboard
- Leaves and wood chips
- Anything that emits carbon
Explore other posts on sustainable living and follow me on pinterest.
Other posts you may be interested in viewing:
Ultimate Earth Day Education Guide, Building Grow lights, How to go Green.
Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!