I am always trying to find ways to reduce my “footprint” on the planet. I drive a hybrid car, I don’t use K-Cups, I try extra hard to remember reusable bags at the grocery store. It’s the little things, right?
So, I thought I’d do some research into composting; making less trash is a pretty big deal now days.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Composting.
Alternate layers of nitrogen-rich greens & carbon-rich browns.
• Vegetable peelings
• Rotten fruit & Fruit Peelings
• Leaves & Grass ( green & dry)
• Coffee grounds & Tea leaves
• Manure from vegetarian pets: rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, sheep, horses,cows, llamas, etc.
• Dry leaves, grass and plant stalks
• Shredded newsprint (non-toxic inks only)
• Shredded Brown Paper bags
• Unbleached paper towels, napkins, wet is okay, greasy no!
• Cardboard (small pieces)
You can also add:
• Rinsed, crushed eggshells
• Pet hair, to help discourage rodents
• Dryer lint
• Wood ash
• Select a level, partially-shaded spot for your bin with good water drainage. Be sure it is at least 8 in – 12 in away from walls, fences, bushes, doors and windows.
• Cut kitchen scraps up into smaller pieces – faster decomposition.
• Whenever you add any food layer, top it off with brown material. Keep a pile of dry browns near the bin to sprinkle on top each time you add kitchen scraps.
• The beneficial microorganisms in your pile need oxygen. If too compacted (like in a landfill), they produce methane as they decompose, which is a greenhouse gas. Leave lots of air space in your bin and mix the contents every week or two with an aerator tool, or an old broom handle.
• Collect dry leaves and grass in a separate, dry container. Then you can use them year-round.
• Compost is generally ready to use after two or three months but aging the pile another one to two months before putting it on lawns or garden will improve it.
Improper materials added.
Use a pest-resistant bin. Put kitchen scraps in the center of the pile and cover with soil.
Add brown material. Turn pile. Insufficient covering.
Not enough water.
Lack of nitrogen.
Add green materials such as grass clippings, kitchen scraps.
Food scraps are exposed.
Cover green material with browns. Avoid adding grease, oils, meats, breads, etc (see checklist above). Cover food scraps with soil or brown material. Put kitchen scraps in the center of the pile.