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If you’ve taken the plunge to eating all organic, then you’re aware of how costly organic produce is these days. To get the most bang out of your buck, don’t just toss your food scraps…start composting! Egg shells, apple cores, wilting greens and other organic matter can be recycled into a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden. And the best part of composting is that it costs absolutely nothing! Composting is the eco-friendly way to keep your garden and your bodies well fed and thriving. Continue reading to see how you can benefit from this untapped renewable resource of possibilities most people end up throwing away.
Composting is the simple process of decomposing green stuff (nitrogen-rich) and brown stuff (carbon-rich) materials over a long period of time to create a nutrient-packed humus that can be used to fertilize and enrich plants. Unlike fertilizer or soil amendments purchased from a store, homemade compost is the best thing you can use in your garden. The Environmental Protection Agency touts that the long term benefits of organic composting include combating pollution and cleaning contaminated soil from toxins such as heavy metals. So with all the positives, who wouldn’t want to compost?
Depending on your living space, you can find a composting option that works for you. If you live in a house with ample backyard space, you can try the faster version of composting—hot composting. This requires an area outside where you can toss together the right percentage of food waste and garden trimmings to create the perfect balanced environment for microorganisms to thrive. With this type of composting, the heap of compost can get very hot and will need to be “turned” or mixed weekly. A less labor intensive compost option is cold composting. Unlike hot composting, this process can take much longer and since it does not require to be turned, it can get smelly pretty quickly. If you don’t produce much organic waste, than cold composting is an easy way to start recycling. Keep in mind, many home improvement stores sell professional compost containers that can help with masking odor and appearance.
If you live with little to no outdoor space like an apartment but still produce lots of food waste, than vermicomposting is your best bet. Composting in this way requires the use of worms since they can break down organic waste extremely fast. You can find professional vermicomposting bins for sale online or you can make them yourself with a few plastic bins and some newspaper shreds. If you’re still interested in composting, but can’t stand worms, invest in a compost tumbler. The same basic rules apply to a compost tumbler as they do with outdoor hot composting, but can be less harsh on your back since turning the compost can be done with just a flick of your wrist.
Anywhere from a few months to a year (depending on what method you chose and the temperature of the compost), you’ll be the proud owner of dark, rich compost ready to be utilized. Start by using compost as you would a moisture-holding mulch. By spreading the compost around all of your plants in an even layer, you’re helping the overall soil structure in your garden, protecting against drought, trapping nutrients in the soil where they belong and keeping the weeds away. Anyway you look at it, composting is a win-win!
What way of composting do you find most effective?