My compost Bin

Why not make 2015 the first year you compost? If you are anything like me, you throw away way too much food waste. When I make mashed potatoes, the peels go down the disposal. Our fresh produce sometimes goes bad in the refrigerator before we get it all consumed. My husband loves bananas and so often there are peels in our trash that begin to smell before we make it to trash day. As these materials are being thrown away in various ways, I am giving up valuable nutrients that could be beneficial to our garden if properly composted!

This year is going to be different for us. This year we are going to compost our waste. We will turn our unwanted food scraps into nitrogen, our fall leaves into organic matter, and our garden waste in to garden gold. This winter, I made a compost bin for my husband. I’m not sure if it is more for me or for him – I can’t wait to try it out!

How to Start Composting

My compost Bin
My compost bin. There are many different functional styles. Chose one you like!

If you spend any amount of time online, you will see all kinds of ideas for composting. Take some time to research the different styles and find one that fits you space, budget, and is easy to use. Plan out where you will put it in your yard. Some compost bins are more visually attractive than others. If your chosen location is in plain view, consider spending a little extra money on looks. Many people think that composting would be quite pungent in smell; however, it usually is not bad. If you compost grass clippings, be aware that they do have a bit of a decomposing smell, but otherwise it is rather unnoticed. (If you can return the grass clippings immediately to the lawn, it tends to be better for your turf anyway.)

The style that I chose was a bin-type style. Compost piles need to be periodically turned over to fully decompose. With square bins, I will need to turn it by hand with a shovel or pitchfork. You may not want to mess with it and rather use a barrel that you can simply roll to mix.

This next part is extremely important! To use compost in your garden, you will want it to be fully decomposed. That seems logical enough. The key is to have more than one pile going at a time. Let me explain: I built a 3 compartment bin composter. This allows me to have one pile that is fully decomposed and ready to be used in the garden, one that is working on decomposing, and a third that I am adding new material to. As soon as I use up the fully decomposed soil, I will begin filling that compartment with new material and starting the cycle over. If you only have one pile started, or one barrel to fill, you can’t be constantly adding to the pile and get fully decomposed organic matter. Without all three bins, I would need to add the new material, wait for it to decompose, then use it, before I could begin adding material again. This is relative inefficient because 2/3 of the time, I will still be throwing away my kitchen waste.

compost bin
3 compartments make composting easy

Consider joining me and making 2015 the first year you compost!

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