How to Make Compost

How-To,In Season,Summer
June 22, 2011

How your garden grows will depend on the richness of your soil—composting is essential, and a great way to recycle kitchen scraps.

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If you haven’t heard the phrase “home farming,” you haven’t turned on your TV or read a newspaper lately. In today’s increasingly eco-friendly kitchen, home gardens great and small are cropping up all over, and composting is becoming a routine practice and great way to give back to the ground that feeds us.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to start a bin at your home.

Placing your Bin
Depending on the amount of space you have available, choose an appropriately size lidded metal or plastic container for your main compost stash. Place this bin outside in an unseen area of your garden. It is also wise to invest in an attractively small container for the kitchen countertop so that you are able to collect food scraps for tossing as you cook.

Picking your Materials
A good compost combines both garden and food waste. The ideal bin is one-third green compost (grass, plants, food scraps, etc.) and two-thirds dry leaves and hay, also known as brown compost. When adding food, remember to use only fruit and vegetable waste (like peels), coffee grounds and egg shells. Never add dairy, meats or oil products to compost!  

Producing Compost
Maintaining a bin is relatively easy once you get a correct mixture of green and brown compost. You will be able to tell if things are decomposing properly if the mixture is warm, damp and smells earthy. If the mixture is too wet and beginning to smell rotten, add more brown mixture.  If it is too dry, add a small amount of water and more green mixture. Stir up the compost once a week, and nature will pretty much do the rest.

Providing for the Earth
Over the course of a few weeks (or months if your pile is large), your waste will break down into a rich soil-like material that is soft and fluffy to the touch. Finished compost is great for nurturing plants in your garden and will act as a rich and organic fertilizer.

-Emily Arno

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