Spring is here! What a better way to welcome this season of new growth than to go Green and start Composting. Going Green is great for your health and for your home!
There are hundreds of little things you can do around your house to help cut down energy use, such as turning off your computer at night and changing your light bulbs to LED. Perhaps the biggest thing you can do, and by far my favorite, is to start a composting bin! You not only reduce your trash and provide organic fertilizer to your plants, if you have a garden, you also know exactly what your food is growing in. With Earth Day right around the corner, why not make an impact and start a composting bin! It’s also a great activity to do with your children to teach them about sustainability and recycling.
Here are 5 Steps to starting your very own Composting Bin!
Step 1- Choose a Bin
There are many options when it comes to choosing a bin. You can buy one from the store, make one yourself, or recycle one. You can use plastic bins or wooden bins. It doesn’t matter so much about what kind you get, but I do recommend having a bin that has some sort of outlet at the bottom, so you can easily access the compost that is ready to be used. I also recommend having a little trash bin with a lid, on your kitchen counter to easily dispose of produce leftovers. You can take the little bin to the big bin when it’s full. Also, you need to make sure whether you make one or buy one, that it has a lid to keep the heat in and the rain out!
Step 2- Find a Location for Your Bin
You want to place your bin on level ground that is well drained to prevent pooling and soak your compost. You also want to have access to it all year. There is no point in having one, if you can’t utilize it all year long. Ideally, you want to pace your bin on top of soil, so worms and other bacteria have easy access to it. This helps with the natural breakdown of the material.
Step 3- What to Compost
There are two main types of compost material: green waste and brown waste. Green waste is high in nitrogen and brown waste in high in carbon. There are some products that can be composted, that do not fall into either category and many products that can not be composted at all. Here is a more detailed list of each.
- Fresh grass clipping
- Vegetable and fruit peeling
- Vegetable crop residue (tomato and potato plants)
- Herbivore manure (this is from animals that do not eat meat like rabbits and horses)
- Tea leaves
- Dead/fallen leaves
- Shredded paper (as long as it has no gloss)
- Coffee grounds and paper filters
- Card board
- Woody hedges and twigs
- Herbivore bedding (hay and straw)
- Egg shells
- 100% cotton and wool
- Wood ash
DO NOT COMPOST
- Meat and fish
- Dog or Cat feces
- Human feces
- Cat litter
- Glossy magazines
- BBQ coal and ash
- Whole egg
- Dairy products
Step 4, Making Compost
To make compost you’ll want to start with about a 4in layer of brush, twigs, or hay. Then about a 4in layer of brown waste followed by about a 4in layer of green waste. Once you have your base, you will want to continue with the layering process until it is full. When full, turn it about every 14 days. The more you turn it the faster it will compost. The bottom of the bin will accumulate with the ready compost that you can use in your garden. It can take anywhere between 2-9 months for your compost to be ready. So be patient.
Step 5, Use Your Compost
Compost is generally ready when dark brown, crumbly and mostly broken down. It should have an earthy smell to it. You can use your compost for trees, flowers, house plants, vegetable gardens, on top of your lawn, for new planting areas, and established planting areas.
Remember to have fun, it will come more naturally the longer you do it. Your home, garden and body will be happy! Let’s get started!