Gardeners with extra garden and kitchen waste on their hands often look to composting as a great way to reduce this waste. Plus composting at home provides them with excellent organic fertilizer to feed their gardens.
The gardening staff at Homestead Gardens has some tips to help you start a compost process in your backyard. And keep in mind, if you don't want to compost, replace your garden's nutrients using LeafGro®, a 100-percent natural compost used extensively by landscapers.
1. Find a space for the compost. You can create a pile in a back corner of your yard, or purchase a composter to help speed up the composting process; it will be great for keeping it contained. If you're starting a ground pile, though, scrape away the sod to encourage worms to mingle in the compost pile.
2. Line the ground or the bottom of your bin with a layer of straw or twigs first to generate air circulation.
3. Place your garden and kitchen waste in the pile or the bin. Our Homestead Gardens staff recommend not adding weeds or diseased plants, as the bad elements of each can spread when you take the compost out for your gardens. Additionally, some kitchen foods like banana and orange peels might have pesticides sprayed on them. If you want to keep your garden organic, keep those products out of your compost. When adding new materials, alternate between dry items and moist items. For example, most kitchen scraps will be wet, and when mixed with the dry, they'll help speed up the decomposition process.
4. Add grass clippings and compost starter from Espoma on top to expedite the process.
5. Water when needed. If you haven't received rain recently, give your compost pile a drink.
6. Cover to keep the heat, moisture and odors from escaping. With bins, just close the door.
7. Stir once a month. Some bins will rotate, making the stirring easy. If you have a pile established, just use a rake or fork to encourage air circulation. After the first month, you can add new materials by mixing them in, rather than layering.