I used to think that composting was gross. I never heard people talking about it, so I thought composting was a weird thing for a suburban mom. But composting is not weird or gross. The truth is composting is amazing, seriously. You can take your trash and make it into an amazing substance to add to your garden. I take a very simple approach to composing, continue below to read how I compost and why you should start composting.
You can find a ton of info online about composting. One of the websites that was a great source to when when I first started was the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). I was just listening to a great podcast by Epic Gardening on the subject. Composting for a backyard gardening is taking a mixture of browns and greens (more about this later) and letting it decompose. There are different methods of composting, including composting using worms. I keep my composting bin as simple as possible- just my trash.
I have been composting for 2 years. I compost in a plastic bin in my yard. My bin may not be huge, but it is amazing how much waste my family makes and how much compost I can make for the garden.
I have a big garden and can use a lot of compost. You can buy compost but why do that when you can literally take your own kitchen and garden waste and make your own- for free. Homemade compost is known as “black gold” for a reason, it is am amazing way to enrich your soil.
Additionally, rather than throwing out scraps, composting means I am sending less waste to landfills.
Is composting gross?
This is one of the things that stopped me from starting. It is a little gross, it is food decomposing with dirt and all the different worms and bugs that live in my yard. But, I was really worried about the smell. My compost bin isn’t far from my house. Here is the truth about the smell- the compost bin smells like dirt. Seriously- just dirt, that’s the truth. If it doesn’t smell like dirt, well that is a sign to add more browns.
How do I compost
I use a very simple large storage container with holes drilled into it on the top, sides and bottom. I made this compost bin after watching a video on YouTube on how to make. You can buy a compost bin made to compost in, in fact my town garbage department sells compost bins/composters at a very reduced rate to encourage people to compost. However, my bin cost me nothing to set up since I had the bin already.
I started my bin with a layer of dirt and then add equal parts “greens” and “browns.” My browns are normally shredded paper and boxes (brown boxes, no shined surfaces). The greens are vegetable and fruit scrapes from my kitchen and plants from the garden. When possible, I try to cut up the items I compost, as it will speed up the process. It is that simple to start. I try to turn the pile once a day and keep damp. (I do not actually get to turn once a day, but I try to do when I can).
Black Gold and Less Waste
I have a great supply of “black gold”- amazing compost. Aside from the product of having this amazing compost for my garden, I am constantly amazed by how much trash my family produces that I can compost. For a family of four (which includes two tiny kids) I can fill up several bowls of scraps when I am meal prepping that I can compost.
Here is an example of items that I compost weekly:
- Numerous Amazon boxes (remove tape and sticker) (browns)
- Shredded paper/ Non glossy junk mail (browns)
- Banana peels/left over bananas (greens)
- Apple Cores (greens)
- Garden clippings (greens/sometimes browns)
- Half eaten fruit (I have toddlers, it happens) (greens)
- Egg Shells (greens)
- Paper towel cardboard rolls (browns)
- Brown Leaves/pine needles (browns)
- Coffee grinds (browns)
If I am not sure if I can compost it, well I throw it in the compost bin and give it a try. However, there are some items you should absolutely not add to your compost like meat and milk products. I have read that citrus is not something you should compost, but when I do have citrus scraps, I do throw into my compost bin and still have made awesome compost. I don’t overthink my compost bind.
Are you inspired yet to start composting? If you are not convinced yet, just try collecting some browns and greens for a few days. I think you will be shocked at the amount of greens and browns you have that you are throwing out. If you took that waste and composted it, you would have an amazing substance to add to your garden and enrich your soil. There is nothing to lose by trying!