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So You Want to Start Composting

Composting is a great way to make the most out of veggie peels, coffee grounds and yard waste. The microbes in decaying food scraps, grass clippings and leaves create awesome plant nutrients that will help your garden flourish this summer. If you’re ready to join the compost party, consider these tips for getting started.

  1. Choose a compost bin that fits your lifestyle and garden goals. There are three main types of compost bins: continuous composters, batch composters, and indoor composter and worm bins. Here’s what you need to know:
  • Continuous Composters: You can add material to these compost bins whenever you like. They produce compost slowly so you can collect a few times a year. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it model, perfect for casual gardeners.
  • Batch Composters: The tumbling action produces compost in four to eight weeks, but it needs to be turned and monitored daily. If you’re a serious gardener, this is the one for you.
  • Indoor Composters and Worm Bins: Yes, you can compost indoors. If the idea of having rotting produce and worms in your house grosses you out, no need to worry. Bins like this are usually fitted with a tight lid, keeping any noxious odors inside.
  1. Know what you can and can’t compost. Fruit peels, used coffee grounds, egg shells, paper towels: Yes, it can all be composted. Avoid adding meat, bones or dairy products to your compost pile. These ingredients can produce harmful bacteria in your end product. Also, steer clear of adding pet droppings or litter, plastic, treated wood or, basically, anything you wouldn’t want to eat.
  2. Get the right mix. For great compost, you need a good mixture of nitrogen-producing foods i.e., veggie scraps, coffee grounds, etc. and “brown material.” Brown material can include dead leaves, newspapers, egg shells, bread or paper towels. Get a good mix of nitrogen-producing scraps and brown material for the perfect compost balance.
  3. Stir it regularly. Stirring your compost with a garden fork will help aerate the mixture, which speeds up bacterial activity. It’s also a good opportunity to check in on how your compost is doing. You’ll know it’s ready when it resembles a rich soil.

With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a food waste-reducing superstar, and your plants will thank you. Read more about how farmers treat their plants right here.