What is composting?
Composting is the process of creating organic material used as a soil amendment or as medium for new plant life to grow. As organic matter decomposes, nutrients are released into the soil in a form that plants can use. It is a way to "recycle" yard and kitchen waste: A critical step in reducing the volume of garbage unnecessarily sent to landfills for disposal.
How to start your Compost ?
Step 1: First, you need to get the composting equipment. You can buy the composting equipment or build it yourself. You can choose to just simply build a compost pile in a convenient spot in your garden. Or, you can build your bin from materials such as recycled pallets, two-by-fours, plywood, bricks, concrete blocks, etc. Note that regular lumber will rot and treated lumber can leach preserving chemicals (important if using the compost in a vegetable garden). Lastly, you can choose to purchase a commercial bins on the market. Compost units can be categorized as "holding units" or "tumbling units". A rotating or tumbling/turning system is more convenient if you don't have a lot of time to dedicate to your compost project.
For easy collection of materials, you can place bins or simple tupperware-type containers with air tight lids, in your home kitchen, in the workplace common areas, and in the school cafeterias. For an indoor bin, keep up with the maintenance to prevent an odor from developing. Your collection bins can be small or big to accommodate the needs of your site. You may also have multiple bins to accommodate your needs as well.
Examples of Commercial/Manufactured Composting Units
Step 2: Place the materials into the composter preferably in layers of alternating materials (i.e greens and browns). The following are example materials that can be composted:
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
(Banana Peels, Apple Cores, Lettuce)
- Coffee Grounds and Filters
- Tea Bags
- Eggshells (slow to break down)
- Bread (too much might attract rodents)
- Yard Waste
(grass clippings, weeds, small branches)
***Never compost meat and dairy products.
Step 3: For faster production of compost, you can turn materials once a week to even out the heat in the compost. Effective composting practices can provide a reaction temperature around 120 ◦F or 50 ◦C. If the compost is too hot and dry, add water. If it is too moist, add sawdust, coffee grounds or some shredded paper.
Step 4: Composting is done when the materials are brittle and falling apart. The soil should have an earthy smell and be rich in color. Some of the vegetative matter will be partly decomposed, giving it a mulch-like appearance. This is normal and not a problem.
Step 5: The compost can be applied to your landscape or garden.