Compost is a natural process through which organic material is converted into a soil-like product. The process works with the help of micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi combined with air and moisture.
Compost is an important way to recycle and can be done at home. It is an easy way to reduce the amount of household garbage by about one third. As well, it produces a valuable soil amendment for use in gardening and landscaping.
Most household organic waste can be composted at home. For backyard or home composting to work best, it is important to use selected material including:
A few tips to start your compost:
- Start your compost pile on bare earth. This allows worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost and be transported to your garden beds.
- Lay twigs or straw first, a few inches deep. This aids drainage and helps aerate the pile.
- Add compost materials in layers, alternating moist and dry. Moist ingredients are food scraps, tea bags, seaweed, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, sawdust pellets and wood ashes. If you have wood ashes, sprinkle in thin layers, or they will clump together and be slow to break down.
- Cover with anything you have – wood, plastic sheeting, carpet scraps. Covering helps retain moisture and heat, two essentials for compost. Covering also prevents the compost from being over-watered by rain. The compost should be moist, but not soaked and sodden.
- Turn. Every few weeks give the pile a quick turn. Mixing, or turning, the compost pile is key to aerating the composting materials and speeding the process to completion.
BEFORE you toss FOOD scraps in the compost, see if there are ways to save or use it, like:
- TEA LEAVES: Acid-loving plants like holly plants, roses and tomatoes love tea leaves. Sprinkle them on the soil!
- HERB STEMS: Herb stems can add both subtle flavor and crunchy texture to dishes. There are so many ways to use it from infused oil & vinegars to season stuffing or grilled meats & vegetables.
- CITRUS PEELS: Combining the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of vinegar with the oil and grease dissolving powers of citrus is pure genius. It makes a great all-purpose cleanser.
There are so many more creative ways to use food scraps. To learn more click here.
For Tips & Tricks to reduce waste at home, click here.