Composting: All You Need To Know About This Sustainable Practice

Composting: All You Need To Know About This Sustainable Practice

With the recent lifestyle changes, we’re all constantly looking for ways to improve our homes and gardens while maintaining sustainability.

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One of the best gardening projects you can take on is composting. 

Composting can be regarded as a natural waste disposal process. In this process, organic matter decomposes under natural circumstances and high oxygen. 

 Once all organic waste involved in the composting process breaks down, the finished compost makes a perfect nutrient for your soil, lawn, and garden. 

Compost is an easy-to-make, free-of-cost supplement that will simultaneously enhance the quality of your soil and reduce your waste.

Though, the benefits of composting go way beyond just that. 

The Benefits of Composting

Since composting encompasses the recycling of organic materials such as food scraps, garden waste, and grass clippings into organic garden food, it creates a portal to both waste reduction and soil enhancement.  

This makes the process very beneficial to the environment, but this is not its only power. 

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What can you compost?

The type of composter you’re working with does make a difference as to what materials you can compost. Though, there are some general rules to maintaining a healthy compost mix that will actually benefit your soil. 

  1. Keeping your compost well aerated: Turning your mix whenever you add new ingredients rather than keeping them in a static state, will allow oxygen to visit different parts of your mixture, which will speed up the composting process. 

  1. Maintain a healthy level of moisture: moisture does play a role in speeding up the decomposition of organic matter, but too much moisture will result in a soggy mixture that will eventually stink. Making sure your compost pile isn’t too dry or too wet will ensure a healthy compost. 

  1. Keep a healthy carbon-to-nitrogen ratio: keeping a healthy carbon-to-nitrogen ratio is essential to composting.

Compost pile

Any compost pile consists of parts carbon-rich materials and parts nitrogen-rich materials. A healthy compost pile ideally should have a higher percentage of carbon.  

To understand these components in the simple sense, think of carbon materials as the dry materials that make the body of your compost pile and nitrogen ones as the wet materials and activators that get the decomposing process going. 

A higher carbon percentage maintains the airiness and allows oxygen to flow within your pile, this helps keeps your mix fresh and prevents strong odors eventually producing a healthy usable compost. So, what are carbon-rich compost materials?

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Carbon-rich material

Also known as brown materials, which makes them easier to recognize. They make the food for the microorganisms in the compost pile which will then help the process by breaking down materials included.

Some examples are wood ash, wood chips, cardboard, coffee grounds, eggshells, and dried leaves.

Nitrogen-rich materials

Nitrogen-producing compost material or green materials help the microorganisms grow and heat up the compost pile, so it helps the process get going.

some examples are kitchen waste, food scraps, green leaves, fruit and vegetable scraps, and yard waste.

What should you not add to your pile?

As previously mentioned, there are a lot of materials you can compost while keeping a healthy pile such as tea bags, vegetable waste, weed seeds and brown and green matter.

So, what should you not add to your pile to keep it healthy?

Our gardening experts generally advise against using fish scraps and meat as well as pastries and baked goods, and that's because they tend to attract pests which will ruin your compost pile and cause it to stick. It's also highly advised not to add glossy paper and diseased plant leaves.

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Compost bins

The first step to successful composting is choosing a good compost bin.  

There are various types and materials you can choose from based on your location and needs.

DIY compost bin

Many homeowners have been resorting to DIY options due to their convivence and affordability, the concept of composting itself is pretty much a DIY project. 

You can DIY your own compost bin by using a garbage can. All you’ll need to do is to drill regular aeration holes and you should be all set and ready to compost. 

If you’d like to opt for something sturdier and better looking, you can DIY a wooden compost bin by stacking wood planks together. 

Preset\standalone compost bins

There are quite a few options to choose from when it comes to preset compost pins but some of the best ones are:

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Worm composting

Worm composting uses earthworms to digest composting materials and convert them into soil food. This type of composting requires a worm bin, which is mostly made of recycled plastic but is conditioned to host worms for the process.

Composting process

Overall, there are two types of composting: the first one is hot composting, which is what was mentioned before, where dry and wet ingredients are put together with activators for fast composting.

And cold composting, which is preserving dry organic ingredients together and letting them decompose slowly over the span of a year or more.

Your guide to composting

Once you’ve selected your compost bin and the best location for it (preferably somewhere with partial shade and good ventilation and drainage), you can now start laying your materials.  

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Final thoughts

Whether you're a great gardener or a beginner, Composting is a very effective and easy process from which you can benefit the environment and get rid of your kitchen and garden waste while staying sustainable.

The final product you'll end up with will make for a great nutrient for your garden soil and will save you the money and side effects of artificial fertilizers!

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