If you’re looking for an earth-friendly way to boost your gardening game, composting could be perfect for you. The process of composting involves leaving organic matter – such as leftover vegetables, fallen leaves and paper products – to break down into a nutrient-rich soil. Whether you’re trying to expand an outdoor garden or simply give more life to the flowers in your window boxes, composting is a great, all-natural way to feed your plants, while also reducing household waste. Here are some basic tips to get you started composting:
Choose Between Indoor or Outdoor Composting
If your home doesn’t have an outdoor space or you plan to use your compost for houseplants, consider composting inside. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor gardeners should visit their local hardware or gardening stores to purchase bins that are made especially for this process. When indoor compost isn’t stored in the proper container, it can start to smell or attract unwanted critters, so be sure you’re using the correct type of receptacle. Compost intended for outdoor gardening can be made in your yard. If you choose to go this route, the EPA recommends placing your bin in a shady, cool spot and covering it with a tarp to help the compost retain its moisture.
Put Your ‘Browns and Greens’ to Good Use
Nutrient-rich compost is composed of two types of matter – browns and greens. The term “browns” refers to fibrous, high-carbon materials, like leaves, paper bags, dead plants, sawdust and twigs, while “greens” refers to items high in nitrogen, like fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, fresh grass clippings and tea bags. You can also deposit small amounts of egg shells, hair, rice, wool and cotton into your compost, but be sure to avoid meat, fish, dairy and non-organic products.
It’s essential that you feed both greens and browns to your compost bin, but make sure your bin is heavy on the latter. According to Green Action Centre, a top-notch compost comprises two to three times as many browns as greens.
Moisture is Key
For your compost to break down properly, you need to be vigilant about keeping it at 50 percent moisture. If you’re unsure what the water content of your bin is, simply squeeze a handful of compost and see how much moisture is released. If you squeeze out more than a few drops of water, your batch is too wet. If you don’t squeeze out any drops at all, you should add some water to your compost container.
Give it a try and see what you think! It’s easy to start small and still see amazing results! Your flowers and mother earth will thank you!