Composting - It's not so scary!
Composting isn't so scary, you can do it...really! It's easy!
What is composting?
Composting is collecting organic scraps and items like food scraps, leaves, branches etc. and allowing them to break down into "compost", something somewhat like soil and rich in nutrients making a great additive to soil to help plants grow.
About 30% of landfill waste is made up of food scraps and yard waste. By composting we reduce the amounts filling our landfills.
Compost helps the soil by enriching it as well as reducing plant disease and pests.
Compostable landfill waste creates methane, by keeping it out of the landfills we are reducing our carbon footprint and reducing green house gases.
When we compost we help create beneficial bacteria and fungi
It can save money for home Gardners and provide them rich nutrients to help their garden grow.
What can I compost?
Here is a list from the EPA:
Fruits and vegetables
Coffee grounds and filters
Hay and straw
Cotton and Wool Rags
Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
Hair and fur
What Not To Compost and Why
Black walnut tree leaves or twigs - Releases substances that might be harmful to plants
Coal or charcoal ash - Might contain substances harmful to plants
Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs* - Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
Diseased or insect-ridden plants - Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants
Fats, grease, lard, or oils* - Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
Meat or fish bones and scraps* - Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)* - Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans
Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides - Might kill beneficial composting organisms* Check with your local composting or recycling coordinator to see if these organics are accepted by your community curbside or drop-off composting program.
What do I do?
Use a small bin or bowl to collect food scraps through the day and at the end of the day (week) take the scraps you've collected and add them to a compost pile. This can be something you construct, there are are lots of plans online, or one you purchased. In addition, some municipalities have a bin for compostable materials as well, curbside composting.
As you add items you will want to add food items, sticks, branches, leaves, grass clippings etc. A variety of items will help it decompose properly and be nutrient rich.
In about 3-6 months the bottom of your compost pile will look something like potting soil and have a pleasant earthy smell. At this stage it's ready to use!
If you don't have a yard there are indoor composting machines and bins as well.
The libraries have some wonderful books on composting and kids books as well, make it a family adventure too! Here is a list of kids books: https://books.growingwithscience.com/2016/03/26/list-of-childrens-books-about-decomposition-and-composting/
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