Rather than haul your kitchen waste to the curb so you can pay somebody else to haul it to the landfill, you can send a lot of it to a pile in your back yard that benefits your garden. But is the return you get from composting worth the work? It turns out the process is easy and requires very little from you outside of your normal household/yard care routine.
Should I compost?
Time and effort
What’s required is a few easy and quick steps that can be integrated into your daily life without
disrupting your routine:
How to compost
A bin is not needed, but can be helpful. Covering the pile will help the process along by retaining heat and keeping excess moisture out. It also keeps the smell down, in case the pile has to be located somewhere that the smell would be a problem.
What to put in your pile: all fruit and vegetable waste, coffee grounds, newspaper, sawdust, grass clippings, garden waste, leaves. Sort the materials into green (moist materials, such as fruit and vegetable waste, trimmings, or damp clippings) and brown (dry materials, such as newspaper, dried leaves, and sawdust).
What not to put in your pile: meat and dairy waste, grease and oils, garden waste that has weed seeds (as the seeds can end up in your garden), non-organic materials
Keep the pile moist. Build it in alternating layers of green and brown to keep the ratio at roughly 1:1, which helps to keep the moisture at the right level. Cover the layers with a thin layer of soil or humus. A saturated pile will rot rather than compost, while an overly dry pile will decompose at a slow rate. You can moisten a dry pile by spraying it with a hose, then turning the contents of the pile.
Turn the contents of the pile once in a while, using a shovel or pitchfork.
You can speed up the composting process by making the bits smaller when you can IE chop up your produce scraps, break branches into small pieces, tear newspaper into strips. This isn’t necessary, so don’t let this task deter you from composting. Your pile still ought to produce usable humus in about 3 months.
Using your compost
As soon as the pile turns to a dark, crumbly texture without bits of the original materials, its ready for use. Humus can be mixed in with existing soil to increase the nutritional content and moisture retention. In early spring or summer, you can add it to tree and garden beds as a top layer, where it can act as a mulch, or actually mix it into the existing soil. Compost can also be mixed in with the soil for new lawns, and sprinkled over existing lawns to enrich the soil underneath.
Of course, your gardening and landscaping goals may be larger than your compost pile can keep up with. If this is the case, you can order as much organic compost as you need from Waeco, in addition to premium top soils and beauty barks. Click here to view the selection at our location by the Evergreen State Fairgrounds.
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