Composting 101

Composting has this image of being dirty, smelly and ‘hippy’.  It doesn’t have to be!  It’s a great way to get rid of scraps in your kitchen and yard and build great soil at the same time.  Compost is a mixture of decomposed materials such as grass clippings, leaves, twigs and branches.  You can use compost to pot plants, fertilize your lawn and nourish your soil with quality nutrients. 

The Steps

1.           Choose a composting method – there are many ways to compost but the easiest are either to purchase a compost bin or set aside a little garden space ( 3ft x 3ft ).  Find composting bins at your nearest hardware or garden store or check out the Mommy Goes Green SHOP for our favorite compost bins.  If you choose to add food scraps, make sure you purchase a bin with a lid and a floor to keep rodents out!

2.         Collect materials – Inside, save all of your fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea bags, egg shells, paper towels and dryer lint.  Store them in a compost ‘keeper’ and empty it into the compost bin as frequently as you need to.  You can purchase compost keepers in the Mommy Goes Green SHOP or convert something you already have at home into one.  To avoid problems with rodents and odor, don’t compost meat or dairy products. 

3.         Add materials to the bin – mix ‘green’ and ‘brown’ materials evenly.  ‘Green’ materials include grass clippings, plant stalks, hedge trimmings and those you’ve stored in step 2 above.  ‘Brown’ materials include woody prunings, leaves, twigs, straw, wood chips, potting soil and shredded newspaper.  Make sure the garden materials are chopped into 6 inch pieces or smaller so they will break down faster.

4.         Add water – compost should be as moist as a wrung – out sponge.

5.         Use – after a couple months, check the bottom of your compost pile to see if it’s soil like.  If so, it’s ready to use!  Ideas for use: mix a couple inches into vegetable or flower gardens each year before planting; spread 1 inch around annual flowers as a mulch; add one part compost to two parts potting soil when potting plants.

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