Have you heard of composting, but just aren’t sure what it means? Not sure why how compost can benefit you? If you haven’t started composting at home yet, now is the time! Home composting is more than just a growing trend among gardeners, it’s a great way to recycle your kitchen scraps and yard refuse into something you can use-compost!
So what is compost and why is it so beneficial? Compost is a fresh black material similar in appearance and texture to potting soil. It is produced naturally when organic material breaks down and decays (a process also known as composting). The resulting compost is rich in nutrients that plants love, making it one of the best types of fertilizer you can use. Compost, also known as black gold, can be tilled into the soil before trees, shrubs, or other plants are planted. It can also be applied to the soil around existing plants. Compost will help plants grow bigger, faster, and stronger than you ever thought possible.
Better yet, composting is a way to recycle! We all know that recycling is the right thing to do. The more items we can keep out of our landfills, the better. And after all, why throw away things that you can turn into valuable compost? Simple things like vegetable peelings, dead leaves from your trees, and plant clippings can all be turned into compost. It just makes sense to recycle these things into compost rather than throwing them away.
So how do you get started with home composting? Well, first you need to decide what type of composting you want to do. There are two basic types of composting, aerobic and anaerobic. Anaerobic composting refers to methods such as a compost pile. Compost piles are one of the easiest methods of composting. They require little effort and virtually no maintenance. Simply pick a spot in your yard (preferably far away from your house; keep reading and we’ll explain why) and begin a pile of the organic materials to be composted. Sounds easy, right? While anaerobic composting is easy, there are also some downsides. First is the length of time required. The microbes that break materials down in anaerobic composting are very inefficient. When you pile things up in a compost pile, it can take several years for them to fully break down and become finished compost. The second problem is the odor produced. Many people think of composting as a smelly process, and when it comes to anaerobic composting, they are correct. Anaerobic bacteria produce methane and sulfate gasses as a byproduct of the composting process, and these are gasses that we find very offensive and smelly.
Aerobic composting, on the other hand, is an entirely different process. Just like the name would suggest, aerobic composting requires oxygen, meaning that the organic materials being broken down must be aerated regularly. A compost pile can be mixed and turned regularly to encourage aerobic bacteria; however, this is often a difficult and labor-intense process. The easiest way to compost materials aerobically is to buy a compost tumbler. Compost tumbler bins are designed to be rotated, so that the aerobic microbes get the oxygen they need to create finished compost. In contrast to anaerobic bacteria, aerobic microbes are very efficient and quick. A compost tumbler, under the right temperature and moisture conditions, can usually produce finished compost within about 6 weeks. Even better yet, aerobic bacteria do not produce smelly gasses like anaerobic bacteria, meaning that aerobic composting is a virtually odorless process. Compost tumbler bins can be easily purchased through many online and mail order stores.
No matter what type of composting you decide on, home composting is still a great idea. Not only is composting good for the earth, it’s also great for your plants and garden. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of turning garbage and yard waste into something really valuable that you can use. Home composting isn’t just for master gardeners anymore, so what are you waiting for? Start composting today!