The new year has begun and I can just see spring around the corner! I went out in my yard this weekend and pulled up all the dead old tomato plants and started to get my garden ready for a new season. The problem is, I have zero patience so I was also thinking about what I could plant now….hmmm. OK I digress!
I also spent time learning a little more about composting, and I think I’ve found a good method, which I will share with you. It’s pretty easy and quite satisfying, since I can see how much I am NOT sending to the landfill. If you want to do the same, here are the steps I followed:
Step 1. Figure out what type of composting works for you. Can you do an open-air pile, or does it need to be closed? And if it needs to be closed, do you have the money (or want to spend the money) on a ready-made compost bin, or make your own?
Since my mischievous dog, Jack, will eat anything (remember the pumpkins!) I needed mine to be in a closed container. However, to me the ready-made ones were fairly expensive so I decided to make my own. I bought a recycled-plastic storage bin and drilled holes in all sides, the bottom and top. (NOTE: I always try to buy recycled when I can. However, this bin didn’t really hold up to the drill so keep that in mind.) Then I set the bin beside our back porch so it’s within easy reach.
Step 2: Once that’s done, all you need to do is begin to fill it. I started mine with some fall leaves and the roots and soil of dead plants from last year.
Step 3: Now, the easy part: Just continue adding to the pile. Make sure to determine exactly what should and should not go in the compost bin. I read the section in my gardening book about composting and it had a handy little chart for me. Basically, I just need to put in 3 parts of the carbon-rich content (brown and dry), and 1 part of the nitrogen-rich goodies (green and succulent). I’ve made a chart of the basic items that most people have to throw in:
|CARBON (three parts)||NITROGEN (one part)|
|Dry leaves||Fruit and vegetables (peelings, seeds, etc)|
|Pine needles||Coffee grounds|
|Newspaper (shredded)||Grass clippings|
I keep a little stainless steel container near my kitchen sink, so all compost-friendly kitchen scraps go there. I’ve been dumping those scraps in the bin, mixing it in, and adding dried leaves and shredded newspaper when needed.
I think my composting is going pretty well, and I’ll keep you posted about how it turns out. This should be very helpful for my little garden down the road. And yes, Jack does sneak in there when he can to grab the odd, limp remains of a head of lettuce, but besides that all is well!
If you want more information, I found this how-to article which proved helpful to me. I’m a novice composter but let me know if you have questions! Or please do share your tips.