Recent research shows that food scraps and yard waste make up 30% of the trash we throw away.
The EPA says that this excess waste, which can be used to feed the soil in your flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, and lawn, take up more space at landfills and contribute to methane production.
You can make organic compost using kitchen scraps and other carbon-related materials around your home. You start with a container that has holes in it to allow oxygen to circulate. Then, you need to add brown and green materials with some water to start the combusting process.
Microorganisms and the composting process produces heat to break down kitchen scraps, grass clippings, dog hair and other materials that you put in your compost.
Why You Should Make Compost at Home
Since 30% of your home’s trash is made up of kitchen scraps and other organic materials, it only makes sense to recycle them into something useful. Before we cover how to make compost, here are are eight reasons why you would want to start organic composting:
- To save money: You won’t need to buy as many organic fertilizers and soil amendments when you use your own materials. Plus, you make it in your backyard, so it’s a local product.
- To give your lawn and landscape nutrient-rich compost: Compost works as both a soil amendment and a fertilizer. The microorganisms that break down organic materials leave a loamy, nutrient-rich product for your flowerbeds and vegetable gardens.
- To reduce your carbon footprint: When you recycle stems, carrot shavings, orange, and apple peels, as well as other kitchen scraps, you reduce your carbon footprint.
- To condition the soil: Organic compost, when it’s correctly made, provides moisture and helps the ground become more arable. For example, you can spread it on your lawn to give your turfgrass a boost of nutrition.
- To support healthy soil: You’re feeding your soil when you add compost as a fertilizer or a soil conditioner. Not only do you add nutrients and moisture, but you’re also adding microorganisms that breakdown nutrients to feed your lawn grass or tomatoes.
- To cut down on the amount of chemicals you use: You will use fewer pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers. The compost makes your plants more resistant to disease, makes them more drought-resistant and makes them healthier without synthetic products.
- To conserve our natural resources: You’ll use less water as well as save space in landfills. Plus, you reduce the amount of fuel that trash companies use to collect trash and move it around a landfill.
- To give you a sense of personal satisfaction: You’ll feel good about yourself when you dig out that first batch of compost. You’ll enjoy adding it to your gardens, beds, and lawn. And you’ll be satisfied when you see your healthy plants growing.
How to Make Compost Using Kitchen Scraps and Other Outdoor Waste
When making your own compost, you need some materials that will create this gardener’s gold. Here are six things you must do to be successful:
- A container with holes. You need to either make your own compost bin or buy one. For example, you can go to your favorite big box store and buy three 10-gallon trashcans with lids.
Next, you need to drill holes in the bottom and along the sides of your trashcans so that air can circulate.
- You need green materials. Kitchen scraps, plants that you divided, houseplants you’re culling, grass clippings and other green materials go into your compost bin. These green materials are alive.
- You need brown materials. Plant roots, leaves, shredded cardboard and newspaper, hair, leftover potting soil, eggshells, coffee and tea grounds (not made with milk). You can also include horse, chicken and rabbit manure as well as sawdust and woodchips.
- You can add earthworms. Earthworms and nematodes, as well as other critters underground, will breakdown the plants, soil, hair, etc. into compost. So, adding worms gives your compost a great start.
- You need to add moisture. You don’t want to add too much water, though, or you’ll have a slimy mess instead of loamy compost. Alternatively, you want to keep your compost moist. You can cover your compost with a tarp to retain heat and moisture within the bin.
- Be sure to “stir” the mix. You use a garden fork to turn the compost, so all of the ingredients get mixed together. And then, you stir the compost again every few weeks to help with mixing fresh ingredients and encourage air circulation.
Don’t Use These Products in Your Compost Bins
You don’t want to add any materials that will encourage pests—such as skunks and raccoons, as well as insects to your pile.
Indeed, you should avoid the following:
- Human, cat, or dog waste. You only want waste from herbivore animals such as chickens, goats, and rabbits. You don’t want to add human, cat or dog waste because they contain pathogens that could make you sick.
- Any cooked food. Cooked food includes any meat products or cooked vegetables. Matter of fact, you don’t want to add any meat to your compost because it’ll attract animals and add pathogens.
- Pine needles. You don’t want to add pine needles because they’re acidic and won’t break down well.
How to Use Compost in Your Fall Garden
If you already know how to make compost, you probably have some ready to use on your gardens, tree beds and other landscaped areas. Remember your mix should smell earthy—like the forest and look like loamy soil or ground-up mulch.
There shouldn’t be any of the ingredients, such as eggshells and plant roots, in your compost.
You can put your compost in a spreader to add to your lawn, flowerbeds and vegetable gardens. You can rake compost gently into your tree beds too. Look at adding compost as the last step before putting your gardens, trees, and lawn to bed for the winter.
How Brinly’s Ground Engaging Attachments Help You with Composting
Brinly-Hardy Lawn Care and Garden Attachments work hand-in-glove with your composting as well as any other lawn care and gardening projects you do. Here are some of our ground-engaging products to help you:
- Get your lawn soil ready for organic compost by aerating your soil with our spike and plug aerators.
- Use the thatch that our lawn dethatcher picked up from your yard to add to your compost pile.
- Use our lawn sweeper to collect leaves and grass clippings to put in your compost bin.
- Use our tow-behind cart to carry your organic compost from the bin to your gardens.
You can find Brinly-Hardy lawn care and garden attachments at these fine retailers. For any questions about our earth-engaging attachments, contact customer service at 877-728-8224 or through our contact form.