When I was growing up, I saw my dad collecting fruit and vegetable scraps for his compost pile. When it was ready,he was so happy to use it for his garden. Thanks to him, I could easily understand the benefits of composting.
First, what is composting?
Composting is a natural process of recycling organic material like fruits, vegetables, grass clipping, paper and more. Once the decomposition starts, the organics transform into a natural source of nutrients for your soil.
Reasons why you should compost at home:
1. Enriches your soil
Some gardeners call compost “black gold” because it is so valuable for increasing the fertility
of the soil!
Composting at home retains your soil’s moisture. You provide the plants in your garden a
source of moisture and nutrients. Compost encourages the production of beneficial bacteria
and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material.
With a good layer of compost, you reduce the need for watering, and you also prevent
weeds from growing.
2. Keeps chemical out of your garden
You won’t need chemical fertilizers anymore because compost naturally contains balanced
amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. It provides the beneficial microorganisms
necessary for a healthy soil.
3. Lowers your carbon footprint
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food scraps and yard waste together
currently make up more than 28 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted
instead. Composting at home helps to reduce methane emission from landfills.
4. Saves you money
Less watering means lower water bills. You also save money by not using chemical fertilizers.
How to compost at home?
First, you will need 3 basic ingredients:
- Browns: dead leaves, branches and twigs. They provide carbon to your compost.
- Greens: grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps and coffee grounds. They provide
nitrogen to your compost.
Having an equal amount of browns to greens and the right amount of water is important for compost development.
1. If you have a backyard, the first thing to do is to select a dry and shady spot near a water
2. As you are collecting brown and green materials, add them in layers to your compost pile,
making sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded. Don’t forget to moisten dry materials.
3. Once you have established your compost pile, add mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material.
4. Keep you compost pile moist. You can water occasionally or let the rain do the job. You can also cover the top of the pile to help retain moisture and heat, two essentials for compost.
5. Turn every week to aerate the pile. Oxygen is required for the decomposition process to work.
6. How do you know your compost is ready? When you see the bottom of your compost pile
dark and rich in color, it means that your compost is ready to use!
If you don’t have a backyard, space for an outdoor compost pile, or you just want to try composting indoors, for example, during the winter, you can use a special type of bin. You can buy one at a local hardware store, gardening supplies store, or make yourself.
1. First, add a layer of soil to your composter.
2. Add enough newspaper on top of the soil to cover the layer of soil. Il will help absorb excess
liquid and speed up the composting process.
3. Save your food scraps in a separate container and mix them with shredded newspaper.
4. Add the mixture to the composter.
5. Mix the compost and add new soil once a week.
6. When you compost bin is filled, wait at least one week to make sure all the food scraps have been composted.
Remember that when a compost bin is properly managed, it will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad.
If you are looking to purchase one, rather than make one, here is a great review of 6 of the most popular indoor composting bins:
Written by Delphine Seguy,
currently an intern with
Good Seed Garden.