Composting 101

This blog has had many posts celebrating Mother Nature and the outdoors, as well as recipes using the fruits and veggies grown in our gardens.  In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint and enrich the garden soil, here is the low down on starting a simple compost pile.  I’m not talking about anything time consuming or expensive to maintain. This is just a simple way to reduce household waste and provide you with free fertilizer for the garden.

There are three basic components to COMPOST: Browns: which include dead leaves, shredded newspaper, used coffee filters and wood chips; Greens: These include grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells and coffee grounds; and Water.  The interaction of these components with beneficial bacteria produce a nourishing substance that enriches the soil and improves your garden.   Using organic scraps that have not been sprayed with pesticides will ensure that your soil is in even better shape for growing food.  Avoid such things as meat and fish scraps or dairy items since they cause odors and attract pests.

You can collect the scraps in a small covered container you keep under the sink or on the counter. If you eat a lot of fresh veggies and fruit like I do, you will empty it into the compost bin several times a day.  I use a simple chicken wire cage that is set at the edge of the garden to corral the scraps. 

To get the basic idea on how to set up your own system and what proportion of ingredients to use, consult some online sites such as: http://www.EPA.gov   or    http://www.planetnatural.com

There are many options on how to collect and store scraps, so check out the sites for specifics.  There are even options for apartment dwellers using small patio containers that will produce enough compost to enrich your potted plants.

Chicken wire cage with vegetable and fruit scraps and grass clippings.

Chicken wire cage with vegetable and fruit scraps and grass clippings.

So why not give COMPOSTING a try?   Your garden will thank you by producing some delicious food and beautiful flowers. And, you’ll be minimizing your contribution to the local landfill.  Mother Earth will be proud!

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4 thoughts on “Composting 101

  1. Thank you for sharing about the importance and simplicity of composting, Darlene. This Prairie Garden Girl aka Suzy, knows all about composting because it is what we do on the Illinois Prairie. Our family lives to leave the world a better place. What did you harvest from your garden today? We harvested a big bucket of potatoes, zucchini and garlic.

    • We harvested rhubarb, and lettuce greens. Our zucchini and pickles are a few days away. Thanks for stopping by Suzy. We’ve been composting for as long as we’ve had our garden. The soil is now rich and black and filled with earthworms. Good stuff!

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