I believe that composting is worth it as composting is an environmentally friendly way to reduce food and yard waste that would otherwise end up in landfill.
And… composting is a natural process of recycling your organic matter and food waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. So your garden, no matter how large or small, will love you.
There is a composting method to suit everyone, whether you live in an apartment, renting – no problems, or if you live in a house with a yard.
Is Composting Worth It?
Composting is a simple and effective way to turn organic waste into a nutrient rich soil amendment.
As an avid gardener, I have found that composting provides a variety of benefits that make it well worth the effort.
Nutrient-Rich Soil Amendments
Compost can be used to improve soil health and structure, which can lead to healthier plants and higher yields. Our compost always goes into the veggie garden t improve soil structure and health.
Compost can help to balance soil pH, which is important for plant growth.
Compost also helps to enrich the soil, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers that can harm the environment.
Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions
According to the EPA, food scraps and yard waste make up around 28 percent of what we throw away.
When these materials decompose in landfill, they produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. You know, the methane gas that poor old cows get blamed for.
Composting can help to reduce emissions by diverting organic waste from landfills.
Backyard Composting Saves Money
Using compost to improve the structure of the soil helps to reduce the need for expensive fertilizers.
Composting has improved the health and yield of the vegetables in my vegie garden. This is such a good cost saver and the benefits of growing your own vegetables cannot be overstated.
Home grown garlic, beetroot and rocket are growing currently in my vegetable and there’s always herbs. I really don’t like paying for a bunch of herbs when it is so easy to grow them.
Composting just seems like a natural part of the growing cycle for me.
What Is The Composting Process?
Composting, in simple terms, is the process of breaking down organic material into nutrient rich soil improver.
The process can be done in a variety of ways, including aerobic composting, compost tumblers, worm composting and Bokashi bins.
Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, but all of them can produce high-quality compost if done properly.
Aerobic composting is the most common method of composting. It involves breaking down organic material using oxygen.
This process requires the compost to be properly aerated, which means that it needs to have enough oxygen to support the growth of aerobic bacteria.
Aerobic composting can be done in a compost pile or bin, and it typically takes between two and six months to produce usable compost.
This is the method I use on a year round basis. Although winter does slow the process, the climate I live in is sufficiently mild for the compost to keep ticking over even in winter.
Make compost tea using your own compost. This will give your plants an extra boost of goodness. Compost tea is not difficult to make.
A compost tumbler is a popular alternative to traditional composting methods.
They are designed to be turned regularly to help aerate the compost and speed up the decomposition process.
Compost tumblers are often used in small gardens or on balconies, as they are compact and easy to use.
They can produce compost in as little as four weeks, but they require regular maintenance to ensure that they are properly aerated.
I have not used one of these however a friend used one with great success.
There is the fact that you do need to get around to turning it. You know, good intentions and all that. Definitely a good practice for someone who will follow through with the turning.
Bokashi bins are a type of composting system that uses anaerobic bacteria to break down organic material.
This process is different from aerobic composting, as it does not require oxygen. Bokashi bins are often used in small apartments or homes, as they are compact and easy to use.
They can produce compost in as little as two weeks, but they require regular maintenance to ensure that they are properly fermented.
What to Compost
Knowing what to compost is key to making sure your compost pile or bin is successful. Here are some guidelines for what you can compost. If you want more detail read the article below, where I have gone into more details about greens and browns.
What Are Green Materials and Brown Materials In The Compost?
Green Materials In The Compost
Green materials are high in nitrogen and include things like fresh grass clippings, kitchen scraps, and produce waste. These materials are great for adding moisture and nutrients to your compost pile. Some examples of green materials include:
Fruit and vegetable scraps (banana peels, orange rinds, etc.)
Coffee grounds and filters
Fresh grass clippings
Weeds (without seeds)
Houseplants and plant trimmings
Brown Materials In The Compost
Brown materials are high in carbon and help to balance out the nitrogen-rich green materials. These materials are typically dry and include things like leaves and straw. Some examples of brown materials include:
Dry grass clippings
Shredded paper and cardboard
Sawdust and wood chips
Kitchen waste is a great source of green materials for your compost pile. Be careful not to add too much at once, as this can cause your pile to become too wet and smelly. Some examples of kitchen waste that can be composted include:
Fruit and vegie scraps
Coffee grounds and filters
Yard and garden waste is another great source of brown material for your compost pile. Be sure to chop or shred these materials before adding them to your pile to help them break down faster. Some examples of yard waste that can be composted include:
Twigs and small branches
Hay and straw
Not all materials are suitable for composting.
Avoid adding meat, dairy, and oily foods to your compost pile, as these can attract pests and slow down the composting process.
Also avoid adding materials that are treated with chemicals, such as grass cuttings from a chemically-treated lawn.
Composting Tips – General Advice
Outdoor Space or No Space?
When it comes to composting, having outdoor space is an advantage. Outdoor space enables you to compost using a traditional compost bin or compost pile. When choosing a location for your compost bin, it’s important to consider the proximity to your home and neighbors.
You don’t want to attract pests or create any unpleasant odors. It’s also important to choose a location that receives plenty of sunlight and is easily accessible for maintenance.
However even if you have a a balcony, you can compost using a small compost bin.
No balcony or outside space, no problems. You can still compost using smaller bins or containers that can be kept inside your home. These bins are designed to be odor-free and can be easily stored in a closet or under the sink.
An electric kitchen composter is brilliant for food waste, or get involved with making compost using worms in a worm farm or try the Bokashi method of making compost.
When using a smaller bin, it’s important to pay attention to the types of materials you are adding.
Smaller bins can fill up quickly, so it’s important to only add small amounts of food waste and mix in plenty of dry materials like leaves or shredded paper.
This will help to prevent any unwanted smells and keep your bin healthy.
What About Maintenance Of A Compost Bin?
Creating compost does require a bit of maintenance, but it’s worth it for the benefits it provides. One of the most important things you can do to maintain your compost pile is to regularly turn it. This helps to aerate the pile and speed up the process of making compost.
Another important factor to consider is the moisture level of your pile. If it’s too dry, the process will slow down. If it’s too wet, it can create an unpleasant smell and attract vermin. Keep an eye on the moisture level and add water or dry materials as needed.
Finally, it’s important to remember that the finished compost can be used to improve the structure of the soil and water retention in your garden. It’s also great for potted plants.
Need More Convincing About The Benefits Of Making Compost?
In my opinion, composting is definitely worth the effort.
Making compost can be done in many ways, and you can choose an active or passive approach depending on your lifestyle and preferences.
One of the best things about having a steady supply of compost, is that it is easy and inexpensive. You can use a compost bin or pile to turn your food scraps, outdoor waste, and other organic materials into rich, dark compost.
You can also purchase compost bins or tumblers that make the process even easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is composting effective?
Instead of throwing away food scraps and waste from the yard, composting allows you to turn them into a valuable resource that can benefit your plants and the environment.
What are the benefits of composting?
Composting has several benefits, including reducing waste, improving soil health, and reducing greenhouse gases.
Compost improves soil structure, making it easier for plants to grow and thrive.
How does composting work?
Composting works by creating an environment where microorganisms can break down organic material into a rich soil amendment. To compost effectively, you need to provide a balance of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich materials, as well as moisture and oxygen.
Over time, the microorganisms will break down the organic material, producing heat and eventually creating compost.
Where should I place my compost bin?
You should place your compost bin in a location that is convenient for you to access and if possible close to the location you generate the most waste for the compost bin.
Ideally, your compost bin should be in a sunny location with good drainage to prevent it from becoming too wet.
Can I compost moldy fruit?
Yes, you can compost moldy fruit, but it’s best to remove any visible mold before adding it to your compost bin.
Mold can slow down the composting process and rotting food may attract pests, so it’s best to avoid adding large amounts of moldy fruit to your compost bin.