Composting Do’s and Don’ts

By saving your old coffee grounds and banana peels, you have the ability to create some of the most nutrient-rich, top-of-the line fertilizers on the block. Don’t care about fertilizer? Well, your [kind of weird] neighbors probably do and this is the perfect gift to get them on your good side.

Composting is the recycling of the food world. Instead of recycling plastic bottles and cans, composting allows you to recycle most organic matter and waste. From veggie and fruit scraps, to grass and leaves, you can help reduce waste while creating a nutrient-rich fertilizer great enough to finally win the unspoken garden competition between you and your neighbor. Not only does this fertilizer help your plants flourish, compost helps to keep pests at bay by encouraging the growth of friendly bacteria, which is an important component to healthy soil.

While composting is not only cheaper than purchasing your own soil, saving waste scraps from being sent off to the landfill helps to mitigate overall waste.

There’s no better way to say “sorry my dog jumped into your backyard and ate your Lillies last Spring” than by offering your neighbor a stew of old banana peels and coffee grounds.  If you don’t like your neighbors enough and don’t have a green thumb, some cities offer curbside collection of compost materials.

Tips for Starting:

  • Create Convenience: Keep a small bin under your kitchen sink for fruit and veggie scraps. You can line the bin with a compostable bag to make it easier to take out to the bin when full.
  • The Outside Bin: Keep a larger bin outside where you can mix together all kitchen scraps, with grass clippings, straw, newspaper… whatever fits the bill. You’ll want to layer greens with more fibrous brown waste (such as dried leaves). By ensuring there’s a mix of scraps in the bin, you’ll create healthy bacteria which will keep your compost from getting slimy and smelly– a recipe to attract critters.
  • The Basic Necessities: If there is one thing you remember from this, remember the basic needs: compostable content, oxygen, moisture, and heat.
  • Getting Started: Let the mix of ingredients in your compost sit for at least two weeks before turning; this allows heat build up in the middle of the mix to naturally begin decomposing.
  • Moisture is Key: Just like the succulent you always forget about in the corner–you have to water it every once in awhile. Keeping the compost moist is critical to ensure breakdown of scraps and proper mixture.
  • Turning & Replenishing: Make sure to turn or stir your compost every few weeks. Once properly broken down and integrated, use or replenish the compost as you go.

Want more info on composting? HERE is a more detailed look at how it works.