Posts tagged compost bins

Come on, Compost!

“For 200 years we’ve been conquering Nature. Now we’re beating it to death”Tom McMillan

If your lawn or garden has suffered from the summer heat and could use a boost of nutrients, a good way to get some vitality back is to throw some fruits and vegetables, hair, and wood chips on it. But not just any combination of those seemingly random ingredients will do. Instead, a properly maintained compost pile, which can break down those materials and many others, will help replenish plenty of nourishment.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains that compost is “organic material that can be used as a soil amendment or as a medium to grow plants.” Natural composting has occurred for hundreds of centuries, as leaves and fruits have fallen from trees and began to biologically decompose. The decay has provided nutrients to plants and other organisms, and it only makes sense to take a lesson from nature and begin composting on our own.

Unlike expensive chemical- and pesticide-laden bags of soil, compost is a much less expensive, yet environmentally friendly option to bring the life back into your lawn or garden. It’s not hard to start composting, and there are several different compost methods you can experiment with.

Sheet Composting

Sheet composting is as close to Earth’s own practice as it gets. While this type of composting takes time to show results, it’s not labor-intensive nor does it require much experience.

To compost this way, you have a couple options: You can trim the plants around the natural borders of your garden and simply leave them to decompose, or you can cover your clippings with corrugated cardboard (or newspaper) and manure. Additionally, you can add vegetable peelings and scraps directly to your soil, as long as you’re careful to keep them at a few feet away from garden plants during growing season.

Compost Bins

Should you decide to opt for a more controlled form of composting, compost bins are a good choice. According to benefits-of-recycling.com, these bins are “structures built to house compost and are designed so as to facilitate the decomposition of organic matter through proper aeration and moisture retention.” Compost bins are made for both indoor and outdoor use, depending on which you feel more comfortable tackling.

Indoor bins can cost as little as $60, or you could spend $400 if you want more amenities. Bins hold varying amounts of food waste, but they all work best if the scraps are in small pieces. Be sure to keep dairy products out (egg shells are fine) to avoid unpleasant odors and flies.

Photo courtesy ecogloballiving.com

Vermicomposting

Vermicomposting, or composting with earthworms, is very similar to using a compost bin, though this method requires a bit more work and maintenance.

To compost with worms, you will need a wooden box drilled with air holes on the sides and top. You must include bedding for the worms, which can be made easily by tearing up strips of newspaper and soaking them in water. Finally, you will need the worms themselves; depending on the size of your family, between one and three pounds of earth/redworms are required to help decompose your materials. The Franklin County Solid Waste Management District web page offers more details if you’re interested in giving vermicomposting a try.

With a little patience and even less money, composting is an easy way to turn your kitchen scraps and other organic waste into a reusable substance that will benefit your lawn and garden. Mother Nature herself would recommend trying this natural method of recycling.

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