What is Compost?
Compost is a natural and biological process of the breakdown of organic material. Food or yard waste can be mixed with soil to create a dark, nutrient-rich soil.
- Keep the compost pile damp. Sprinkle water on the pile when it starts to get dry.
- Aerate every two to three weeks with a garden fork.
- To speed up the breakdown of your compost you can break the materials into small pieces and turn the pile regularly.
- If you find that there is a bad odour, the pile may be too wet or doesn’t have enough air. This can be avoided by turning the compost pile.
- Keep insects away by covering kitchen scraps with dry leaves so the scraps are not exposed.
What to Compost
The three components of a successful compost are water, browns, and greens. Water gives moisture to the compost pile to allow the breakdown of materials. Browns include dead leaves, branches, twigs, bread, pasta, rice, ground wood chips, and well shredded paper/cardboard. Greens include grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, coffee grounds, crushed egg shells, and tea bags. It is important to layer browns and greens, so you don’t have to turn the pile as much. Also, ensure to cover greens with layer of browns on the top of the pile.
You can compost packaging. This includes wood, paper, and compostable plastic, but not plastics labeled biodegradable. You need to remove stickers and foil before composting these items.
Do not add litter, diseased plants, weeds gone to seed, meat, bones, fats or oils (peanut butter, dairy products, eggs), ash, treated or painted wood.
Composting reduces waste going to landfill. Up to 50% of household waste is organic and therefore can be put in the compost.
It decreases water usage because soil with compost holds moisture more effectively than regular soil.
Composting can improve quality of soil since compost contains important nutrients for plant growth and health.
When compost is added to heavy soil, it loosens it up, so that air and water can easily infiltrate the roots, resulting in a stronger plant.
Composting can create a better soil structure by proper drainage, deeper root growth, and overall stabilization to protect the plants against wind and water.
Commercial inorganic fertilizers lack important natural nutrients that composting can offer. These nutrients promote long-term plant growth.
Composting requires using proper tools, techniques, and care, but the results in your garden will be worth it. Comment below if you have additional composting tips or stories. Also, Let us know if you find this information helpful in growing your garden.
Written by: Taylor Page