Composting at home gives you an opportunity to decrease your household’s carbon footprint by reducing landfill waste as well as reducing kitchen and yard waste—and the compost you make can be used to optimize the health, growth, and longevity of your landscape’s foliage overall by introducing beneficial organisms to the soil and providing an effective alternative to chemical fertilizers. Modernize
has put together the following checklist to help you create a convenient and effective composting system for your household:
Create Some Compost Storage
You’ll need a place to store your compost while it cooks into a useful concoction of mulch. You can dig a large hole in the yard and dump your compost there, covering it up with a dark colored tarp between uses. A simpler method is to drill a few holes in the bottom and on the sides of large garbage can and set the can in a safe place within your yard. The holes will allow extra moisture to drain from the container, and the lid that comes with it should allow the compost to get hot enough during the day to cook down into a useable form.
Put Your Scraps in a Kitchen Pail
Kitchen scraps are an important source of nitrogen for your compost pile! To make sure that all of your kitchen scraps find their way to the compost bin in the yard, place a small metal pail under the counter in the kitchen and fill it with your scraps throughout the day. You can then you can just empty the pail into your large compost bin each evening and put the empty pail back under your kitchen counter.
Shred Your Paper Products
Shredding newspapers, book pages, cardboard, and other paper products and adding them to your compost bin will provide the mixture with a rich source of carbon, which is essential for creating nutrient-rich mulch. Use a traditional paper shredder if possible, as this will produce tiny pieces of paper that will quickly disintegrate in your compost pile. If you don’t have access to a paper shredder, use a pair of large scissors or your hand to break the paper up into as small pieces as possible before adding it to your compost pile.
Retain Dead Flowers and Foliage
Flower arrangements that have died, grass clippings, cropped tree and bush limbs, garden weeds, as well as straw and hay all make for an awesome addition to composting bins because they provide an essential source of both carbon and nitrogen, and they help bulk things up to create rich mulch that survives rain storms when used in the garden. Just throw your dead flowers and foliage in your compost bin whether you’re working with a small handful of rose stems from a vase or a large pile of leaves in the yard.
Maintaining Your Compost Bin
Luckily, there is not a lot of legwork that has to go into maintaining your compost bin. In addition to making sure that the bin’s top is securely closed at all times, you’ll need to use a pitchfork or rake to stir the compost up once a week or so. This will give the compost a chance to properly aerate so it breaks down efficiently and the nutrients within it can co-mingle into a mineral-rich source of food for your plants and gardens.
This is my favorite DIY compost bin (made out of recycled material) - click on the picture for the plans!