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Monday, May 4, 2009

The ABC’s of Composting!


Most people don’t know how easy it is to compost, and some don’t even know what a compost is so I thought I would shed some light on how easy it is!  

From the Wikipedia

Compost (pronounced /ˈkɒmpɒst/ or US /ˈkɒmpoʊst/), sometimes known as brown manure, is the end result of controlled aerobic decomposition of organic matter known as composting. It is used in landscaping, horticulture and agriculture as a soil conditioner and fertilizer to add vital humus or humic acids. It is also useful for erosion control, land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and as landfill cover (see compost uses).

Basically great for Gardening and helps REDUCE your waist!!

What can I compost?

Most yard waste like grass clippings, fallen leaves, twigs, vines and plant stalks can be composted. Fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells and nutshells can also be composted.

What should I not compost?

Do NOT compost anything that can cause odors, promote disease, attract pests or lead to any other problems. You should NEVER compost meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, or human or pet feces. You should also avoid composting weeds with developed seed heads and any plants that are highly susceptible to disease.


How do I start composting?

Start by selecting a location outdoors, at least six feet by six feet, which will not be a bother to you or your neighbors. Enclosing your space with a "compost bin" will help you save space and prevent litter by preventing the wind from disturbing your pile too much. You can buy a bin, or you can easily build one yourself.

We built our own!! We used scrap wood from this old bridge thing that was left here when we bought the house.


food 055

We lined the box with a couple trash bags, and will be filling it with fertilizer and grass clippings. You generally need about 3 to 4 cubic feet of material to get the decomposition working actively. An easy rule of thumb suggests mixing an equal part of brown (dry leaves, straw, sawdust, etc) and green (grass clippings, kitchen scraps).

food 056
Once you have a nice-sized pile, mix in a few shovels full of soil to introduce some extra microbes to the mix. Your pile should be about as moist as a squeezed-out sponge, so if it's getting dry add some water. After a few days, the decomposition process should heat up the center of the pile. If, by touch, your pile is not noticeably warmer towards the center than it is on the outside, you may need to add more green materials.

How do I maintain my compost pile?

You should turn your pile with a pitchfork or shovel to introduce oxygen that is needed by the microbes at work. The more often you turn it, the faster it will work.

If you notice a bad odor coming from your pile, turn it right away; it may indicate a lack of oxygen. If the odor persists, you may need to add more brown materials. An overly wet pile can also create bad odors.

Small amounts of fresh materials, such as kitchen scraps, can be added to your pile over time, but they should be buried towards the center to avoid pests and to speed up the decomposition. If you have large amounts of waste, such as grass clippings and leaves, it is best to start a new pile.

What do I do with my finished compost?

Compost can be used as mulch around shrubs and trees to help keep down weeds and retain moisture. It can also be added to garden beds to help increase soil porosity and aeration. Fine compost can even be used for potting plants, and if you have a lot of compost, can be spread over your lawn.

I got most of this information from this wonderful site!

Do you have some tips for composting? Please Share!

Some links for all you who are trying to live a more simplified life!

The New Age of Thrift 

17 Healthy Foods For Under $1

The Cheapskate Guide: 50 Tips for Frugal Living

Top 6 Super Cheap Mother's Day Gift Ideas


RunToFinish said...

I've heard putting shredded newspaper in teh compost is good too

Run Sarah said...

That's awesome! My parents have a compost, perhaps I should start keeping my peels etc and adding it to theirs.

HangryPants said...

Super cool! I wish I had a place to compost, but we share a yard withe other families that live on the other floors of our house.

Pearl said...

great post on composting!

Mica said...

Thanks for all the tips! I'm really impressed by your homemade composting contraption, mad props, Bobbi!

ttfn300 said...

great info! i always wondered how to do it, and now i wish there was somewhere i could :)

Lacey Nicole said...

nice! i'm so impressed!!!! and thanks for those links, i always need new reading material :)

Melissa @ For the Love of God said...

That's so awesome! I cannot wait until I get a home (I'm in a condo) so I can compost and grow my own garden! My dad always did composted while I was growing up and it was wonderful!

Anonymous said...

I just forwarded your post to my husband and told him he has a job to start.

I have wanted to start a compost for years and now that we own a house...I don't see what is holding us back?!

Happiness Awaits

Kristin said...

Thanks for the info! If I had a yard I would definitely start one.

Megan said...

Some links that I found very useful:

These show how you can use a garbage can to make a compost bin, which might work if you are sharing a backyard.


This list cracks me up, but it is 163 things that you can compost (although I am not sure how accurate it is, because it says fish stuff. and just a note, you do not want to compost tomatos because they are too acidic):

Denise said...

Great information. I live in a townhouse, though because we don't want any land!! We like to do little work outside and have our wknds to do anything but yard work. Do you think I could do a minature one?

Anonymous said...

thanks for the post, and the links at the bottom! i'm gearing up to live on a very tiny budget (as i'm taking a volunteer position for a year in nyc) so i'm definitely going to be practicing living small asap!

Danielle said...

Thanks for all the info, unfortunately I don't have any room since I live in an apartment but I'll definitely start my own once I get a house.