People associate composting with hard work, rodents and dirty smells. Nothing could be further from the truth. Reduce your kitchen scraps and enjoy a bountiful garden.
Compost is often called Black Gold and for a reason! This precious resource is so easy to produce with ingredients that abound in every family’s home, yet composting is still a mystery to a large majority of people.
Many people associate composting with hard work, rodents and dirty smells. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are a few simple rules to follow and voila! – you will have wheelbarrows full of Mother Nature’s best gifts.
Compost is the perfect panacea to garden problems from blossom-end rot on tomatoes to black spot on roses because it is alive with millions of beneficial bacteria. One teaspoon of this incredible plant vaccine can contain 100 million beneficial bacteria ready to go to work to protect and nourish your soil.
Kitchen Waste for Your Backyard Composter
You can divert a large amount of garbage from the landfill by throwing it into your compost bin instead. Some of the composting materials from the kitchen include:
- fruit and vegetable scraps
- Crushed eggshells (they contribute much-needed calcium to the soil)
- Coffee grounds (they speed up the compost by adding nitrogen)
- Tea bags
- Waste from herbivorous pets like gerbils, rabbits and guinea pigs
It is a worthwhile idea to chop up your used banana peels, old and moldy oranges (or be prepared to see them poking through the compost for months on end) and the tough, fibrous ends of vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. This will speed up the decomposition.
From Garden Garbage to Garden Gold
Garden waste that can be added to your backyard composter includes mostly any material that has not had herbicides or pesticides applied to it. Bear in mind that including large woody branches will slow down your compost.
It is better to bag these types of organic material for your local town or city to compost. Municipal composters are huge and can break down woody plants and trees much quicker and far more easily than you could.
- Dried autumn leaves. Keep some bags handy to add to the composter during the winter
- Chopped up plants
- Chopped up weeds (without seedheads)
- Old potting soil
Items That Should Never be Included in a Composter
Backyard composters do not smell and they do not attract rodents normally. But if you include any of the following items you will have these problems. Do not be tempted to add them. Save them in your ‘Green Bin’ for your city to compost.
- Meat, fish and bones
- Fats and Oil
- Dairy products
- Waste from pets like dogs and cats (they carry harmful pathogens)
Rules of Composting
Go to any forest or wood and you will observe that the floor is covered with leaves that rot down and return their goodness to the earth. This is the same basic mechanism that is employed in composting. There are just a few rules to adhere to in order to produce quick and easy black gold. They are:
- Layer your kitchen waste with dried leaves and/or old potting soil
- Wet the mixture with enough water that the unfinished compost feels like a wrung-out sponge
- Turn the mixture every week or so (this is great for the arms)
Your garden will thank you in about three months.
Compost bins are often sold at a discounted rate at your local waste management department. Think about purchasing two so that you can always have one to fill. When emptying out your old compost bin, toss in four or five forkfuls of finished compost into the new bin. This will start off your new pile with plenty of beneficial organisms.