For today’s busy parents, the idea of setting up a compost system can be an intimidating endeavor, but it’s actually easier than you think. By purchasing just a few simple items, you can set up a compost system without spending much time or energy at all!
There’s a wide range benefits from composting, but most importantly, a compost bin can benefit your garden and the environment at the same time.
When food scraps from your trash are dumped in a landfill, the layers of trash burying the food scraps create an anaerobic environment. As the food matter decays, the airless environment produces methane gas, which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Not only does composting turn food scraps and plant matter into rich nutrients that you can add to your garden, but it also prevents extra methane gas from polluting the air.
A compost system can be simple or as complex as you’d like, but since this article is for beginners, we’ll focus on a simple system to get you started.
The first step is to find a good container for your kitchen that is compact and will seal off the undesirable fragrances of old food. Make sure the container can fit on your kitchen countertop or underneath your sink and can be easily opened by your kids if you plan on them helping out.
The most recommended container is a stainless steel compost pail with a carbon filter that you can find at most home/kitchen decoration retailers.
Once you have your kitchen container in place, now it’s time to find a bigger bin for outside.
There are all kinds of structures that you can use to accomplish a good compost but since you’re a beginner here, let’s keep it simple. If you’re handy, you can build a structure yourself or you can buy a bin from your local home improvement retailer.
Whatever you decide to do, the bin must be at least 3 feet wide, 3 feet long, and 3 feet high. It can be bigger that these dimensions, but not smaller. Piles decompose from the inside out, so a large pile insulates the center, keeping the heat and moisture consistent, which benefits from hard-working microorganisms within.
If you are the DIY type, building a wire cage bin is the easiest way to get started. The wire cage bin can be square or circular shape. Use wire mesh to keep the rodents out and keep it sheltered so the it doesn’t get overwatered from rainfall.
If you’d rather skip the construction process, another good option is to buy a plastic bin. One of the better plastic bins is called the Earth Machine, which can also be found at your local home improvement outlet.
Time To Compost!
Now that you have your indoor and outdoor bins, it’s time to compost! The basic idea is to put equal amounts of “green” and “brown” layers in your compost bin.
Here is a quick list of some items that classify as green and brown materials:
Some kitchen scraps that you SHOULD NOT compost include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, oily foods or grease, bones, or cat and dog waste.
After you’ve filled up your kitchen bin with green food scraps, take it out to your outdoor bin and dump it all in.
If you have plant refuse from your garden, you can also mix it in with the green materials. Some of the larger items, like broccoli heads, should be cut into smaller pieces so they can break down easier.
Refuse that SHOULD NOT be mixed into the compost include diseased plants with bug infestations, weeds with developed seed heads, anything treated with insecticides, and we recommend to not put any tomato plants in compost. Tomato plants get diseases easily and it’s not worth taking the chance.
Next, mix in an equal amount of brown material and give it all a stir. The compost also needs to be a damp so make sure to add a little water after you mix it and there you have it!
After a few months of these material breaking down, you will have some nice, rich compost at the bottom of the pile to add to your garden while doing your part to fight air pollution!