Composting is the biological decomposition of organic waste such as food or plant material by bacteria, fungi, worms and other organisms under controlled aerobic (occurring in the presence of oxygen) conditions. The end result of composting is an accumulation of partially decayed organic matter called humus. Composting with worms, also known as vermiculture, results in nutrient-loaded worm castings.
- It's easy
- It creates a useful soil enricher
- It is an environmentally sound way of reducing yard waste
Step 1:Choose The Right Composting Method For You.
There are two kinds of composting - bin/pile composting and worm composting (vermiculture). The type of composter used should be the one that best suits your needs and capabilities.
|Bin/pile composting:||Worm composting:|
|Simply throw in organic materials as they become available around your home and yardLearn about the right bin for you||Popular way to compost small amounts of food and paper wastesRead detailed instructions on how to build a worm bin|
Step 2:Choose The Right Location For Your Compost Bin.
Consider how you will get the raw materials to the pile and how the finished compost will be moved to the area it will be used.
Step 3: Decide What to Compost
To build a compost pile, simply alternate layers of browns and greens.Greens
- Vegetable and food scraps
- Fresh grass clippings and yard waste
- Coffee grounds
- Tea bags
- Egg shells
- Dried leaves, grass, mulch or hay
- Cardboard rolls
- Newspaper (shredded)
- Fireplace ashes
- Clean paper
- Wool/cotton rags
- Egg yolks (attract vermin)
- Meat (attracts flies and rodents)
- Oils, grease (produce odor, attract vermin)
- Pesticides (can kill composting organisms)
- Pet waste (can carry disease, attract flies)
The compost pile should be periodically mixed to incorporate oxygen. Regularly check the internal temperature and turn over the mixture when it reaches 140°F. The compost pile should be built in layers 3 - 4 inches deep. Composting still happens if the pile is not turned, but the materials break down slowly.
Step 5: Using Compost Around Your Home
Once the composting process is complete, the result is a dark, nutrient-rich humus that has many uses:
- Soil Amendment - work a 1 - 3 inch layer of compost into garden soil
- Mulch - apply a 2 - 3 inch layer on top of existing soil
- Potting mix - blend with potting soil for container plants