Composting is a way to turn organic waste, such as food scraps, chicken manure, and yard trimmings, into a rich, soil-like material that can be used to fertilize gardens and plants. Here are the steps to start composting at home:
- Choose a spot in your yard that is convenient and easy to access. Many people like to set up their compost bin or pile it in a corner of their yard or near their garden. Ours is located in the corner of the garden.
- Decide on a container for your compost. You can use a store-bought compost bin, or you can create your own using wire fencing or pallets. If you don’t want to use a container, you can simply create a pile on the ground.
- Add organic materials to your compost. This can include food scraps (such as fruits, vegetables, and eggshells), yard trimmings (such as grass clippings and leaves), and paper products (such as newspaper and cardboard). Avoid adding animal products (such as meat and dairy) and materials that have been treated with chemicals (such as pressure-treated wood and painted materials).
- Mix and moisten the materials. To help the composting process, you’ll want to occasionally turn the materials in your bin or pile to allow oxygen to circulate. You can use a pitchfork or shovel to do this. Additionally, it’s important to keep the compost moist, but not too wet. A good rule of thumb is to aim for the moisture level of a wrung-out sponge.
- Wait for the compost to mature. The composting process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the materials you’re using and the temperature outside. As the materials break down, they will become a dark, crumbly, soil-like substance. Finish compost will have a sweet earth-like smell.
- Using your compost. When your compost is ready, you can use it to enrich the soil in your garden or potted plants. Simply mix it into the soil or topdress your plants with a layer of compost.
Remember to keep your compost moist, but not too wet, and mix it regularly to ensure that it breaks down properly. If you have any questions or need more guidance, don’t hesitate to ask!