Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Composting is a new thing for my family. I found some really great information I thought I would share.

What is compost?
Compost is the decomposition of plant remains and other once-living materials to make an earthy, dark, crumbly substance that is excellent for adding to houseplants or enriching garden soil. It is the way to recycle your yard and kitchen wastes, and is a critical step in reducing the volume of garbage needlessly sent to landfills for disposal. It's easy to learn how to compost.

Who can compost?
Good composting is a matter of providing the proper environmental conditions for microbial life.
Once you understand the basics of composting, choose a bin system. You can either make one yourself or there is lots of different items on the market. Of course you could just avoid a container all together and select a designated area somewhere in your yard.

Composting Fundamentals

Composting won't work without the right amount of air. Without adequate air, anaerobic (non-air needing) microbes take over the pile. They will cause slow decomposition, and tend to smell terrible! It's important to make sure that there are plenty of air passageways into your compost pile. Make sure you mix and break up items before tossing them into your bin. You can also turn the pile periodically to make sure air gets into it.

Ideally, your pile should be as moist as a wrung-out sponge to fit the needs of compost microbes. At this moisture level, there is a thin film of water coating every particle in the pile, making it very easy for microbes to live and disperse themselves throughout the pile. If you are using dry ingredients, such as autumn leaves or straw, you'll need to moisten them as you add them to the pile. Kitchen fruit and vegetable wastes generally have plenty of moisture, as do fresh green grass clippings and garden thinnings. If it is too wet, it will mat down too much and air will not be allowed to get in and it will slow down the process.

There are 2 types of "food" your compost pile will need. Browns and greens.
'Browns' are dry and dead plant materials such as straw, dry brown weeds, autumn leaves, and wood chips or sawdust. Because they tend to be dry, browns often need to be moistened before they are put into a compost system.

'Greens' are fresh (and often green) plant materials such as green weeds from the garden, kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps, green leaves, coffee grounds and tea bags, fresh horse manure, etc. .

A good mix of browns and greens is the best nutritional balance for the microbes.

What to compost.

Grass and lawn clippings, hay, kitchen wastes, leaves, stray, weeds and other garden waste, wood chips and sawdust all make great compost.

What NOT to compost.

Chemically treated wood products, animal and human waste, diseased plants, meats, bones and fatty food waste, and pernicious weeds.

Mu husband is going to be making a compost bin for our family, hopefully soon. Once we get it done I will post about it!

Most of this information was taken from Vegweb.com. To read the entire article about composting you can here.

1 comment:

  1. My mom and I were talking about composting this past week. She has one but I don't. But maybe I should.

    I gave you the Attitude of Graditude Award. Come over and claim you award.