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Composting is a pure approach to recycle natural waste, enriching the soil in your garden and boosting its capability to retain moisture. Food scraps and yard waste mixed account for about a third of total municipal solid waste, in line with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. By composting these supplies, you assist divert waste from landfills whereas making a helpful soil modification.
Here are some tricks to make your compost pile successful, even on small city heaps.
Get the Proper Green and Brown Balance
To thrive, your compost wants nitrogen, carbon, water, and air. Brown supplies — similar to branches, twigs, straw, and lifeless leaves — contribute carbon. Green supplies — together with vegetable and fruit waste, tea luggage, eggshells, espresso grounds, and grass clippings — present nitrogen. Your compost pile ought to comprise roughly equal elements green and brown material. If you’re involved about attracting animals to your compost pile, don’t put meat or dairy in it. If your pile smells or appears soggy, add extra brown materials.
Select the Compost Pile Location Wisely
You’ve heard the true property expression — location, location, location. Well, the identical holds true to your compost pile. The preferrred location is a dry, shady a part of your yard that’s straightforward to entry from your own home. This is necessary as a result of you’ll be bringing out kitchen scraps often. If the placement just isn’t handy, you’re much less doubtless to make use of it.
Deter Rodents and Flies
Use a closed bin, similar to a Soil Saver, to maintain the compost pile compact and tidy, and rodent-free. This can also be useful if area is restricted. If you reside in a metropolis, put wire mesh on the bottom earlier than inserting your compost bin on prime. Then, fill any holes or gaps with metal wool. These steps will assist forestall rodents from getting into your pile. To keep away from flies and decrease odors, layer inexperienced supplies below brown. One straightforward means to do that is to maintain a straw bale available and sprinkle straw on prime each time you add kitchen scraps.
Maintain Your Compost Pile
Don’t simply dump your kitchen scraps and go away the remainder to nature. Proper care of the compost pile is important for the best-finished product — and to keep away from odor and fly points.
Chop meals scraps into 1-inch cubes so that they break down extra simply. Remember that air is a mandatory ingredient for a wholesome compost pile; combine the supplies weekly with a pitchfork to aerate it. If your pile will get dry, water it periodically till it’s moist. But don’t overdo it, you don’t need it soggy. If your compost is attracting numerous flies or it emits a robust odor, this is a sign that it isn’t correctly breaking down or that you just want extra brown supplies.
Add Compost to Garden Soils When Ready
Don’t bounce the gun and use the compost earlier than it has damaged down correctly. Unfinished compost can drain nitrogen out of your soil because it finishes decomposing. When your compost is darkish and crumbly, it’s ready for garden use. Spread a few inches on prime of backyard beds within the fall, after which combine them into the soil within the spring.
Feature picture courtesy of Joi Ito. Originally revealed on March 25, 2015, this text was up to date in March 2023.