With so many of us practicing social distancing and self-quarantining, we’re seeing a surge in gardening at home. It’s no wonder because gardening is a huge stress reliever and it’s good for the soul! If you’re just starting a garden this year or even if you’re a seasoned grower, adding compost to your beds is an easy way to give your plants, fruits, and veggies a healthy life. Read on to learn tips for how to compost at home!
What is Compost
Compost is decomposed organic matter that you can put back into the earth. It adds vitamins and nutrients to your soil, and your plants will absorb all that good stuff up through their root systems! Plants that are grown with added compost are stronger than those grown without. It also helps plants fight diseases and insect invasions.
How to Make Compost at Home
Much of what you throw out from your own kitchen can be turned into beautiful, nutrient-rich compost. Kitchen scraps, such as fruit and vegetable peelings, egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds, can all be used. You can also find materials in your own yard, such as grass clippings, leaves, and plant cuttings.
Choosing a Container
To start composting, you need a bin to collect the materials and allow for them to decompose. Amazon and most home improvement stores and garden centers offer a wide variety of compost bins. If you’re just starting out composting, we recommend a simple plastic compost bin that can be easily turned.
There are plenty of DIY options available online. Check out Giroud’s Yard & Garden Pinterest Board here for ideas!
Where to Put Your Compost Bin
Sunlight and good drainage are key to a successful compost program! The heat from the sun activates bacteria and helps break down the matter faster. Making sure the bin is draining properly will keep the decomposition process moving along smoothly. Also, keeping your bin close to the ground and not on concrete will allow earthworms and other beneficial insects to wiggle their way through, and that’s a good thing! These bugs will munch their way through the material and help break down the matter!
Layering Greens and Browns
You can add so many different things to your compost bin, but you want to make sure you have equal parts “Greens” and “Browns”. Greens are moist, fresh items, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags, eggshells, and grass and plant clippings. Browns are dry, fibrous materials, such as dry leaves, sawdust, wood shavings, cardboard, straw, and hay.
If you have a bin that turns, layering isn’t as important, but you do want to have an equal ratio of greens and browns, or as close as you can estimate. If you need to hand turn your compost, layering greens and browns will help the decomposition process.
What You Shouldn’t Add
There are some items that you should never use. Proteins, such as meat, fish, whole eggs and other kitchen foods are not good for composting. Plus, they can attract larger unwanted pests to your bin. Dairy, treated wood, and invasive weeds are also no-no’s for composting!
Using Your Compost
In 4-6 months, your bin will be filled with black, nutrient-rich compost! Simply scoop it out and spread it around your plants. If you have a bin that does not turn, scoop from the bottom of the pile. You can use it on vegetables, fruits, flowers and even around trees.
If you have any questions, give Giroud a call at 215-682-7704. Our ISA Certified Arborists are always available for FREE inspections.