Home Composting

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and nothing says “I love you!” to your garden more than some nutrient-rich compost!  The great thing about composting is that everyone can do it!  It recycles waste that would otherwise get thrown away and creates a product that can be used to improve your plants.  Your first step is getting a container to hold your compost.  You will be able to find one at any home improvement store, but you may also be able to get them for a minimal charge or even free from your local city government:

Place your bin in a dry, shady spot in your yard.  If you have dogs or other animals, make sure they will not be able to get into the bin.  There will be many tasty morsels in there they will be trying to get at.  Generally, most things that are biodegradable can be put in your bin to make compost.  The Environmental Protection Agency has put out a great guide to composting that includes things that should and should not go in your compost.

Your compost should be turned occasionally to help oxygenate the pile.  It also speeds up the breakdown of the materials you have added.  How often it should be turned varies depending on who you ask (we have read once a day, once a week, once a month, etc).  Just remember, the more often you turn it, the faster it will break down into your finished product.  Your compost should also maintain an amount of moisture, and water should be added whenever it seems dry.  When your compost has turned black and is the consistency of soil (no large materials present), then your compost is ready!  You can work this into your garden soil or place it around your existing plants and trees.