Get Started With Composting Using These Tips
Anything that was once alive will decompose. And when it does decompose, it mixes with the soil to create a richer mixture that can be a better source of healthy growth. That's the basis of backyard composting, which involves reusing decomposed organic material (i.e. leaves, grass clippings, etc.) and mixing it into a soil. It's this soil mixture that's known as "compost." Compost is essentially a means of recycling organic waste, returning the nutrients back to the ground so that the cycle can restart.
Benefits of Composting
Perhaps the biggest benefit to composting is recycling, as it's estimated that food and yard waste make up roughly one-third of the total waste stream. By composting, this would-be waste is redirected away from landfills and waterways and back into the ground. But the recycling aspect is hardly the only benefit associated with composting. Here's a look at more:
- Healthier soil: Compost soil is dark and rich in nutrients, which helps plants and lawns flourish. What's more is that healthier soil can also help plants and lawns fight off disease.
- Better moisture retention: Adding organic materials helps in this area.
- Fewer pests: Don't be surprised if you're not calling the exterminator to spray your property as much.
- Soil amending: Is your yard rich in clay or sandy soil? Compost can help amend these soils.
- Save money: Last but not least, composting soil will prevent expensive runs to the hardware store to purchase manure, chemical fertilizer and other soil products.
Composting Tips: Getting Started
Want to give composting a shot? Here's a look at some tips and suggestions to help you get started:
- The big three: Start with the big three if you're composting in your yard — food scraps, grass clippings and leaves. Leaves are rich in carbon, grass clippings rich in nitrogen and food scraps are an ideal organic material.
- Stay away from pet droppings: While it can be tempting, don't add this to your pile — it will only attract pests.
- Newspaper can help: Like leaves, newspaper is a carbon-rich source for your pile. But we do recommend shredding it before adding it to your pile to speed up decomposition.
- Pile size: The ideal compost pile is 3 feet wide, long and tall. You can also purchase a compost bin to help with the process.
- Compost temperature: Compost will decompose at just about any temperature, but if you want to accelerate decomposition, be sure that you keep the pile in direct sunlight and keep it fairly moist.
- Avoid sprayed plants, grass: If you've sprayed your plants with pesticides or any type of chemical, avoid putting that into the compost pile.
When it's all said and done, your compost pile should be dark and crumbly — and smell just like the floor of a forest.
For more information on composting, and to set up a consultation to help you better recycle, contact us today.