Composting: What it is and How to Get Started

Composting: What it is and How to Get Started

The minute I saw the first few green signs of life popping out of the tired ground last week, my mind began to race in preparation for this year's garden.

This will be the fourth summer of my little urban garden.  Each year I've learned more information and there is so much more to learn.

A fundamental need for a flourishing garden is good rich healthy soil.  This dream plus my constant anxiety of waste led me to composting.

The Sierra Club explains composting in this short video.

My family of four plus dog throw away or even recycle many items that can be composted.  On the first night of cooking dinner this is what I put in my compost.

pear cores

apple cores

egg shells

scallion ends

avocado peels

paper napkins

brown leafs

our Halloween pumpkin

You might be surprised of this large list of items that can be composted.  It cuts your garbage and recycling by more than half resulting in lots more space in the quickly filling garbage cans and landfills.

With so many questions, I contacted Shawna Coronado from Gardening Nude and she graciously answered all of my questions.

Does compost need to be in a container?

Compost can be composted in a pile or in a container. Either way, the goal is to make sure you rotate the compost as often as possible

Can bread products go in the compost?

Yes, bread products can go in compost. So can a lot of other items. I love this post from a Marion Owen that talks about 163 things you can compost - http://www.plantea.com/compost-materials.htm.

When can I expect to see fresh soil?

Composted soil is usually produced in three weeks or so if the compost has the right combination of ingredients and is being turned regularly.

Should I expect an odor or smell to come from the compost?

Compost should not smell. If it does it has meat and milk products in it, or it is too wet and is growing moldy/musty. Air circulation and regular turning should prevent that as well.

 

My kids are fascinated by this process.  They literally watch the food breakdown and will see healthy plants, herbs and vegetables grow this summer.

It ends up being a double plus: helping the planet and free all natural fertilizer.

Have you had any experience composting?  Is this something you are interested in trying?

 

 

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