There are at least five reasons why you should be composting. There are actually more than that, but let's start simply. A couple of days ago, Fran picked up a compost bin and today we christened it with sticks, grass, branches and kitchen scraps. Our composting bin is made of plastic and looks similar to a large, upside down garbage can with vented sides. I also think it looks like Darth Vader. If anyone knows how to paint a good Darth Vader, I will commission you to paint him on our compost bin.
Moving on, there are many types of compost bins including rotating, microbe, hot, vermi or you could just put it in a big 'ole pile in your yard. Our composter came with the instructions to put in an initial 4-6 inch base of dead plants, twigs or branches in the bottom of the bin. Then, you add a "green" layer of kitchen and garden scraps and cover that with a "brown" layer of leaves twigs or shredded paper. These layers should be repeated and the compost should be as wet as a rung out sponge. Every 1-2 weeks, we can mix the compost to aerate. Eventually, the compost will become warm and might have a sweet smell. Apparently, cooked compost is the good stuff. After 8-12 weeks we should be able to remove the finished compost to use on the garden, lawn, houseplants, trees and bushes.
Sound simple enough. So, why is composting so important?
1. Composting reduces organic landfill waste, and therefore reduces methane emissions.
2. Composting reduces dependence on fossil fuels. (No need for a factory to expend energy making compost for you.)
3. It promotes healthy microbial activity in soil, providing micronutrients to plant roots.
4. Compost is nature's way of recycling. It invites all of the (good) little bacteria and bugs to eat everything up and leave behind nutrition for your plants.
5. It improves soil structure, which protects from erosion.
Bonus: it's free! Buying compost can be expensive. We bought some for our raised garden and it can cost a pretty penny. Free, environmentally friendly and you come out of the deal with a better lawn and garden? Go on, get your compost on!