Easy Tips for Composting at Home

Easy Compost Tips from Green Sisterhood

Composting is one of the most rewarding and fun activities you can take up after you decide to live a little greener.  You know you need to reduce, reuse, and recycle and composting provides a way for you to take charge of the recycling aspect by overseeing that your food waste goes back into the “earth”. When you throw items in the curbside recycling bin you have no idea what ends up happening to them. With composting you see the benefits first hand. You are also making nutrient-rich soil for your garden plants and vegetables – a win/win situation for all. It’s really not hard to do either.

Easy Tips for Composting at Home

1. Prepare the bin/container – you can go out and buy a fancy compost bin (there are many to choose from at garden supply centers). You can also make your own out of wood remnants or discarded wood pallets (this is what I did). Or you can simply make a “heap” which is far more economical and will work just as well.

To make a simple compost bin you need four sides and a covering.  You can use four similar sized pieces of wood, nailed together or you can use breeze blocks to make an enclosure for your waste.   You’ll need to leave a removable area in the front so that you can scoop out the finished compost and also make it easier to turn. Wood tends to be the ideal material as it is completely eco-friendly, economical and far easier to put together than one using brick.

Tip:  Check your local Craigslist ads and you may just find a few really nice compost bins being sold for a fraction of their original price.

2.  Add drainage material – Once you have your “container” ready then line the bottom with biodegradable material that will help absorb the compost faster.  You can use straw, twigs or newspaper.

3. Heat things up – In order for your waste to turn into compost, you need heat.  You can do this by adding a thin layer of already mature organic soil (which you buy at the garden center or from another area of the garden) on top of the first layers of waste.  This will help trap the heat in and your waste will compost faster.

4. Cover and Turn – Another way to keep the temperature high in your heap is by covering it up.  You can use old potato sacks, pieces of cardboard, or a thick blanket.  Your compost will take approximately three months or so to degrade.  You can help things along by turning the heap once or twice a month.  Simply uncover and using a large, thick stick or shovel simply “turn” the compost to distribute the heat.

5. Things you can compost – Shredded newspaper, uncooked vegetables and peelings, grass/lawn, old plants, hedge clippings, coffee grounds, teabags, eggshells, a Kombucha scoby, animal waste (chickens, dogs, cats), weeds, rotten fruit or fruit remains.

You will love taking charge of your waste in such a direct manner and seeing it return to the earth and make it a better, healthier place.

Do you compost? Do you have any handy tips you want to share?

5 comments
juicygreenmom
juicygreenmom

I am in Alberta Canada, and got a fancy Ecolosphere composter which is like a large globe. We've been using it for 3.5 years and are only just starting to see some real compost. Because we have such a long winter I'm assuming that slows it down a great deal. Any tips on getting the right "balance" in your mix?

Eco novice
Eco novice

I'm scared of composting b/c I've had rats before and I'm worried about attracting vermin of any variety. Any thoughts on that?

Anna@Green Talk
Anna@Green Talk

I didn't realize you can compost animal waste.    Also, I tend not to compost weeds since I just don't want to take the change of weed seeds. 

I have been composting for five years and have yet to see any compost since the vermin like it so much.  (And yes I have a rodent screen but it doesn't stop them from digging.)  The only good thing is the plants by the compost are gigantic.

Anna@Green Talk
Anna@Green Talk

@juicygreenmom I use a 6:1 balance of brown to green.  It takes a long time to get compost unless you have one of those globes that you turn and you only add one pile at time.