Are you a gardener searching for new ways to grow fuller blooms and healthier foods? Maybe you're simply environmentally conscious and looking to incorporate more eco-friendly habits into your daily routine. If you aren't already composting, we're here to help!
If you're unfamiliar with composting, we've created quick overview of what it entails, along with the benefits of the practice and how to get started today.
The Basics of Composting
To put it simply, composting is the process of recycling — except instead of recycling glass and cardboard to create new products, you're recycling organic materials into the soil. By allowing living materials to decompose and return to the earth, you are putting essential nutrients back into the soil and allowing life to complete its journey.
Here's a quick list of the different materials you can compost:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Garden weeds
- Grass clippings
- Pine needles
- Tea leaves
- Coffee grounds
- Wood chips
These types of materials are typically divided into two categories: green and brown. Usually, the category each material belongs to is obvious. For example, grass clippings are categorized as green, while newspaper and dead leaves belong to the brown group. This distinction is important when you actually begin composting.
The Benefits of Composting
Composting is beneficial for numerous reasons, including that it reduces the amount of yard and food waste in landfills and waterways. It also reduces the need for pesticides, resulting in safer and healthier produce. Because compost soil is rich in nutrients, gardeners don't require as much store-bought fertilizers or unnatural solutions to grow vibrant flowers and tasty foods.
Start Composting in Your Backyard with Ease
First, buy or build a bin you can use for your compost. Then begin placing your organic materials into said bin., but strategy is important when placing materials into your compost bin.
For the best results:
- Avoid packing down materials, as oxygen is a necessary part of the process;
- Vary how you add material, alternating green and brown, if possible;
- Keep the compost moist by watering the materials occasionally; and
- Regularly mix or "turn" the materials using a pitchfork to help with circulation.
The benefits of composting far outweigh the time and energy spent on recycling organic materials. Your compost can now serve as great fertilizer for your vegetable and flower gardens, and even if you don't have them yourself, you can always offer it to your neighbors!