The basic principle of composting couldn’t be simpler: Pile up yard and garden material that you don’t want, let it sit for a few months, and watch as it becomes a perfect, free organic superfood for your garden. It’s not magic, but it’s pretty close.
We don’t want you to miss out on this amazing process, so we’ve collected articles on topics like basic techniques, 30 tips for perfect compost and using leaves to build your lawn and garden soil. Since we hear questions on this topic every day, we’ve researched the best products and methods to give your garden every advantage. Read More
But I don’t know where to start!
We’ve got you covered. There are systems for every need and budget – basic to sophisticated. Wire or plastic cages may be all you need to collect leaves, grass clippings, garden waste and food scraps. If you like to keep your yard looking neat and tidy, there are other bins and structures that will contain the materials, speed up the process and look great.
Worried about the physical work involved? A composting tumbler might be an excellent tool. Fill it about 75% full of dry materials like leaves, add in some food scraps (see our tips below for suggestions) and turn it a couple of times a week to inject more oxygen into the process. Many of the tumblers have smooth turning mechanisms that even a child could manage.
What can I put in a pile or heap?
If it’s a plant, it’s good to go in! The usual ingredients are grass and leaves, but sawdust, hay, straw and shredded newspaper and office paper are also great candidates. Make sure that all of these items are free of colored ink and other potentially hazardous chemicals like pesticides and herbicides.
Do NOT include meat, dairy products, pet or human waste (Eeeww!), fat, bones, and weeds with seeds attached. These items just don’t break down well, are unsanitary, or might attract unwanted attention from pets or wildlife.
Isn’t it going to stink or attract neighborhood critters?
As long as you stick to a few basic rules for adding materials, you shouldn’t have any problems. Here are a few more composting tips:
• Keep enough dry plant material or shredded paper in the pile to absorb any excess moisture. Adding too much green material like fresh grass clippings or food scraps at once chokes out airflow, creating the possibility for things to get slimy and stinky.
• Bury kitchen waste in the middle of the pile, not on top. This will prevent odors from being broadcast throughout the neighborhood.
• Use a container that seals tightly, like a plastic bin or tumbler. If animals can’t dig into the pile, they’ll leave it alone.
I have a tiny yard. Can I still make this work?
Absolutely. If you garden in containers, you can make “garden gold!”
Even apartment dwellers can use a bokashi bucket or a worm bin to keep leftovers from going into the trash. These clever systems tuck nicely into a corner of a garage or balcony, completely under the radar.
There’s no reason to think that offering your plants a gourmet diet is out of reach. Take a look at our collection of tools and systems or give us a call with your specific concerns. We know what makes gardens grow.
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