Composting is an easy way to add organic matter to your soil whether that is your vegetable garden or your flower beds. Organic matter helps your plants grow stronger and faster because it adds nutrients to your soil. It also helps your soil retain moisture which is very helpful in many areas due to water shortage and drought.

Tips for Composting at Home

Tips for Composting at Home

Compost is basically decayed organic material.  The organic material may be food scraps, grass clippings or other yard waste.  The compost can be added to your garden instead of fertilizer. This gives you a free source of chemical free fertilizer. That means no toxic chemicals in your garden.  Not everything can be composted but many of your table scraps can be.  Here are a few tips for composting at home.

  • Start with a container. You can keep a container in the kitchen to hold the table scraps and empty it outside very few days. If you do this, I recommend a container with a lid and a charcoal filter to help control odors. You can also use a container outside in your yard to hold your yard waste. It’s a good idea to get a container with a locking lid to keep out animals.
  • Compost tumblers make it easy to rotate your compost.
  • You need a combination of two parts brown and one part green waste material to get the right mix of your compost pile.  Brown waste material can include sawdust, shredded newspaper, dry leaves and bark chips.  Green waste material can include grass clippings, leftover vegetables from dinner and other kitchen waste.
  • If you will be composting outside, it is best to avoid things like meat and dairy which attract mice, rats and raccoon.
  • Check the pile regularly and turn it over with a garden fork if you aren’t using a tumbler. Add the kitchen waste and then turn the pile over to incorporate it.
  • In very hot, dry weather, you may need to water your compost pile. Moisture is vital to the composting process.
  • Add new material regularly to help things break down. Make sure to add a variety of different types of ingredients.
  • Allow your compost to age for at least a few months before you use it in your garden.
  • Your compost is ready to use when you can no longer see pieces of the original ingredients.

Here’s a quick guide to what you should and should not compost:

Leaves and other dead plant material
Fruit and vegetable scraps
Herbicide-free grass clippings
Manure from horses, cows, goats, chickens and rabbits
Paper or cardboard, shredded

Meat or fish scraps
Fatty, sugary or salty foods
Chips or sawdust from wood that is pressure treated
Clippings from herbicide-treated lawns
Manure from dogs, cats, or humans

Now that you’ve read these tips for composting at home, will you be trying it for your garden?

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April 22, 2014

Tips for Composting at Home

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  1. Jamie

    April 22nd, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    I wish I could find one of those composting barrels for cheaper – they are so expensive where I live. Maybe I’ll buy an old barrel and try to make my own. Great tips, Ellen – thanks!!

  2. Ellen Christian

    April 23rd, 2014 at 7:02 am

    They are expensive. You can build your own with pallets and chicken wire although the barrels are prettier.