A Homeowner’s Guide To Composting For The First Time

Nowadays, more people are staying in their homes due to the consecutive lockdowns and health protocols the pandemic has brought. Because of this, more people will have to cook their meals instead of going outside for lunch or dinner.

While it is a good idea to cook your food, this would also increase your food waste. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about increasing garbage anymore. The solution to your problem regarding food waste is composting. 

What Is Composting?

Composting is an eco-friendly process of making an organic matter (in this case, your food waste) decompose and transform into compost. So, instead of putting all your garbage in landfills, why don’t you segregate the ones that can be made into compost. 

What Is Compost?

Compost is used primarily for plants. It would help them grow beautifully as compost supplies them with a lot of nutrients and good bacteria. If you’re planning to use compost, you may incorporate it with your garden soil. 

Also, by using compost, you don’t have to water your plants as much as you can. Compost acts like a sponge and releases water to the plants as soon as they need it. This would significantly save you money on your next water bill.

In addition, with compost, there’s no need to buy chemical fertilizers that could cause damage, such as chemical burns, to your plants.

What Is A Compost Bin?

A compost bin or composter is a unique container where you place all your organic waste for composting. Some composters are continuous and, some are not. Continuous compost bins allow you to keep adding organic wastes, while others work in batches, meaning you have to wait for the process to finish before starting a new one.

What Are The Types Of Compost Bin? 

Choosing a compost bin can be difficult. But if you want to produce high-quality compost, here’s a summary of different types of bins to consider:

  • Tumblers: These are cylindrical and have a crank that allows you to spin them. However, it would be hard to turn it as the weight increases. Also, moist materials have a tendency to clump together and form a heavy ball. 
  • Movable composters: These bins allow you to turn your compost regularly and remoisten it if needed.
  • Closed bins: As the name suggests, these bins are sealed and will be able to protect your compost from pests and insects, such as rodents and flies. However, they are more expensive compared to other types.
  • Open bins: Unlike closed bins, these would dry out your compost faster since they are open to dry.
  • Stationary bins: These bins are placed in one location, and it would be a big hassle if you plan to move or relocate them. So, if you’re planning to relocate your compost bins from time to time, this type may not be suitable for you.

What Are The Organic Matter To Compost?

The rule of thumb in composting is to mix greens, browns, and water. An ideal mixture of these three is crucial for producing good quality compost.

  • Brown materials are:
    • Dead leaves
    • Egg shells
    • Saw dust
    • Straws
    • Wood chips
  • Green materials include:
    • Fresh leaves
    • Grass clippings
    • Coffee grounds and tea bags
    • Plant cuttings
  • Some waste you should never include are:
    • Ash from charcoal, which may contain harmful substances not ideal for plants
    • Black walnut tree leaves, which may release harmful substances not suitable for plant growth 
    • Dairy goods, which attract unwanted pests such as rodents
    • Pest-infected plants, which may infect the entire compost capable of destroying other plants
    • Fatty foods, such as oils and greases, that could attract rodents
    • Meat and fish scraps, which attracts pests the way fatty foods do
    • Pet waste, which could contain pathogens both harmful to animals and humans

How To Start Composting?

Composting is generally easy, even for first-timers. So, if you want to know how to start, here are the basic steps you would like to follow:

  1. Choose an area that is dry, adequately shaded, and near your water source.
  2. Add shredded pieces of browns and greens together. 
  3. Add adequate moisture to the materials as they are added.
  4. After establishing a compost pile, mix green waste such as grass clippings, and bury fruit and vegetable scraps under 10 inches.
  5. Cover to retain its moisture. If it’s dark in color, your compost is ready to use. The usual time frame of composting is between two months and two years.

Final Words

Composting is an ideal process of taking advantage of food waste by making them useful once again. Furthermore, composting has tons of benefits, such as minimizing your carbon footprint, reducing water use for plants, and lesser use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. 

If you plan to make your compost, make sure to follow some tips presented above and do not include the waste that could pose harmful risks to humans, animals, and most importantly, your plants. 

Happy composting!