how to compost at home

Life Kit shares tips on how to turn your food scraps into rich soil through composting. Typically the more compost you have, the faster it will go. There are many different ways to make a compost pile; we have provided the following for general reference. We'll teach you how to turn your food waste into beautiful earthy compost in five simple steps. When you're layering, you want the dry browns on the bottom with the wet greens on the top. (Of course, in the age of the coronavirus, make sure your community garden is open, and practice social distancing.). Step #1: Plot out a composting site that measures at least 3 feet long by 3 feet wide. This episode is your starter for how to compost … Contact Us to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem. Some do it more frequently, some less. Cold composting is as simple as collecting yard waste or taking out the organic materials in your trash (such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and filters, and eggshells) and then corralling them in a pile or bin. You should turn your compost about once a month. Learn how to create and maintain an indoor worm composting bin. An old trash bin, an old wooden chest — just work with what you have available. Helpful tools include pitchforks, square-point shovels or machetes, and water hoses with a spray head. ", Another small space idea, Neal says, is fermenting your food scraps with a Japanese method called Bokashi. Your tip could appear in an upcoming episode. Julia Simon for NPR You should also alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. It should be a 3:1 ratio of carbon items to nitrogen. To build your own composter, use a 32-gallon trash barrel and drill several 5/16-inch holes using the cordless drill on the cover of the garbage can and up and down the sides for aeration. How long do you have to wait for decomposition? ), so you'll need to store them in a container so you can add them bit by bit. 2. Kidding!). How fluffy it is!". Enriches soil, helping retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests. In the world of composting you're inevitably gonna hear about "the greens and browns" — the two main ingredients for your mix. If it smells bad, it probably means it's not decomposing — maybe your pile might be too wet or you might need to readjust your ratios of greens and browns. You will just need to pay attention to how your garden beds respond to your composting materials. Cooked food, oily things, buttery things and bones. Those are compostable in industrial facilities, but they don't really work for home composting. Basically you can just have a heap of compost — but don't put it up against a wall as it could stain it. Leonard Diggs is the director of operations at the Pie Ranch Farm in Pescadero, California. The number of layers depends on your space and your amount of food scraps, but try to keep the layers to an inch or two. There are many different ways to make a compost pile; we have provided the following for general reference. Composting at home: Establishing your own basic compost pile Choose a site where you want to put up your compost pile. The good news? A good thing to remember is that green materials are typically wet, and brown materials are typically dry. Or sometimes a sour smell. Helpful tools include pitchforks, square-point shovels or machetes, and water hoses with a spray head. Subscribe to our newsletter. The audio portion of this story was produced by Audrey Nguyen. Once your compost pile is established, mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material. Fence it if you want. An official website of the United States government. Diggs says when you start out you might be turning the compost once every seven to 10 days. If you want to break down your food scraps in your own apartment, there are still options. 3. "Greens" are typically food scraps, like fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, or, if you have a yard, grass clippings. Like banana peels, or, if you're me, a frightening amount of pineapple tops. Start with fruits and veggies — the skin of a sweet potato, the top of your strawberry. Of course, it's totally fine if you want to give your food scraps to someone else to make compost. Before you start piling on, recognize that there are two types of composting: cold and hot. Or you can donate to your local community garden — just be sure to text ahead! That will make sure microorganisms can do their job. Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. Follow these five simple steps to compost at home like a pro. "It doesn't have to be, you know, all the things that you find online that are really cute little ceramic containers," says Diggs. How to Compost at Home. There's a method for adding them to the pile (see step 4! When you're composting, your kitchen scraps should be part of a deliberate layering process to speed up decomposition. Neal says in the end "the nose knows" when your compost is ready. Diggs says the browns are key because they allow water to flow, and air to flow, something called aeration. Do you attract animals to your pile? Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs*, Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)*, Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides. Regular mixing or turning of the compost and some water will help maintain the compost. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has an excellent "compost trouble-shooting guide." "If one hundred percent of it is water, then nothing is going on. You can also ask your local grocery stores, restaurants or farmers markets to see if they have programs to take food scraps. It helps to shred up the paper products before putting them in your pile. Use a shovel or pitchfork to regularly turn your compost and mix the layers. Over the course of a year or so, the material will decompose. He says it "can just be an old milk carton. Water - Having the right amount of water, greens, and browns is important for compost development. Ultimately you always want more browns than greens — again, gotta have the dry to sop up the wet. Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint. Whether you've got a small apartment or a big backyard, there are ways to compost your kitchen scraps in any space. If you don't have a backyard and still want a traditional composting experience you can take your food scraps to a compost pile that you share with neighbors or at a community garden. Diggs says he loves smelling finished compost,"You know, it just smells so ... Oh, gosh. Nature will help direct you as to whether or not you need more of either at any given time. Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin. Clear a patch of ground about 4′ by 4′. Backyard Composting And the feel! Add brown and green materials as they are collected, making sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded. You can also buy a bin online or Digg says, "You could just create the pile naked!" For compost, you need approximately an equal ratio of nitrogen to carbon to create a healthy mix. He says you don't need a big container for "vermicomposting" — a 5 gallon box will do. There's a solution for your home food waste that doesn't involve landfills: Composting! Also tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells, old flowers — even human hair! A properly managed compost bin will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Cornell Waste Management Institute's Small Scale Composting, U.S. Department of Agriculture Backyard Composting Tip Sheet. You can also put a little bit of browns on the very top to keep away flies and odors. Add organic matter to the compost bin. When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use. Do not use meat, dairy, oils, or bones in compost. If you do have some outdoor space, your compost bin doesn't have to be complicated. We'd love to hear from you. "All you need is a container you can seal and Bokashi mix, a colony of bacteria on grain." Your compost should be ready in two to five weeks. Aerate the pile at least once a week, stirring the compost and getting the … "I think keeping it simple," Diggs says. Or you can go bigger. If you're one of the millions of Americans now stuck at home because of the coronavirus, it might feel like you're cooking more than you've ever cooked in your entire life. That's an easy way to avoid odors and insects in your kitchen. A helpful analogy is to think of tending to your compost like tending a fire. (Here's some more info on how to use worms and Bokashi.).

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