Composting is a great way to occupy your time and improve your property, all while reducing your impact on the environment.
How to start your own compost pile:
What You’ll Need
A good compost pile is composed of many layers. These layers are typically categorized as either “brown” or “green.” Brown layers include items such as leaves, dead flowers, newspapers, and cardboard that are rich in carbon. Conversely, green layers include items high in nitrogen content like vegetable scraps, fruit peels, and grass clippings. Gather the materials you wish to compost and separate them into these two categories. You’ll also want to buy some garden soil to mix in with the brown and green materials. Designate an area in your backyard for your new compost pile that is at least 3 feet long by 3 feet wide. If you want to get really serious, consider buying a metal compost bin or even using an old trash can to hold your compost. Otherwise, starting it right on the ground is fine.
First, lay down a thick layer of brown materials at the compost site. Then, cover this first layer with a coating of green material about 6 inches thick. Spread a thin layer of garden soil over the green layer, making sure to cover the entire area. Top this off with another brown layer and then add water to moisten it. It is best to repeat this process until your pile is about 4 feet high. After you’ve built your compost pile, the next job is to maintain it. The decomposition process is greatly aided by the presence of oxygen, and so it is important to turn your compost pile with a shovel or pitchfork every 2-3 weeks. This will expose the entirety of the pile to oxygen and speed along the decomposition process. When adding new material to your compost, simply mix it into the whole pile. There is no more need for layering at this point.
Using Your Compost
You can use your compost in a variety of ways, from enriching the soil in your garden to keeping your lawn fresh and healthy. You can even just tend to your compost pile as-is, and use it to dispose of your food waste. Having a compost pile is a fun and easy way to cut costs on gardening supplies and keep your food scraps out of a landfill.
No Backyard? No problem!
Don’t have a backyard? You can still compost even without a backyard. One preferred method is vermicomposting, or “worm” composting. This method is fast and incredibly portable, using a well-ventilated bin and the decomposing abilities of worms to get the job done. If you don’t want to compost inside your house, consider looking into compost pick-up services in your area. Your neighborhood may offer this service, but if not, there are plenty of privately-owned services as well.