I love compost. Just the either day I brought a bag of pineapple peelings home from a friend's house because she didn't have a compost pile and I couldn't bear to throw the scraps in the garbage. Seriously. The fact that I can turn kitchen waste into nutrient dense soil for my garden appeals to my trash-to-treasure heart.
It's also a great way to teach our kids about our planet's beautiful systems of regeneration!
What you need in order to start composting:
Composting is easy and you really only need two things to begin:
(I built my compost bin with my own two hands and my hubby's power tools while he was at work one day several years ago. I built it using the plans from a book called "Crockett's Victory garden", but it is similar to this tutorial here.)
What you can compost:
Aside from fruit and vegetable scraps, here are some of the other things we compost:
- coffee grinds and tea bags
- egg shells
- stale bread
- floor sweepings and the contents of my vacuum canister
- dryer lint
- leftover porridge or rice that didn't get eaten
- little paper cupcake cups
- nail clippings and hair trimmings
- facial tissues
- the occasional half eaten pickle found under the sofa (true story)
- paper bags, when I have one that would otherwise be recycled (I like to line the bottom of my can with them!)
- Lawn and garden clippings
What about all this talk of nitrogen rich materials and carbon rich materials?
Some books and websites are going to stress you out with all sorts of talk about nitrogen rich materials (such as vegetable scraps) and carbon rich materials (such as leaves and newspaper) but it is really as simple as this: if the pile smells bad or is slimy, add some carbon. Give the whole thing a little turn with a pitchfork every now and then. Easy, right?
Does it stink?
Compost shouldn't smell unpleasant. Occasionally it smells a bit sweet and citrus-y, but generally it just smells like fresh lovely garden dirt! If it stinks, add leaves, newspapers, or torn up cardboard.
- Take your kitchen compost out to the compost heap often. Because composting is great, but not if it's happening under your kitchen sink.
- Don't put meat in your compost.
- If it smells, add carbonaceous material.
- Relax, this is something nature has been doing for pretty much forever without your help...you'll do fine.
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