It’s time to get serious about how easy composting is, unless you want to buy it each season.
It’s really no more time consuming than taking out the trash. You’re just doing it in a more responsible, sustainable way.
I started composting with a double barrel composter. I have Labrador Retrievers who love to eat just about anything, so I need to keep the kitchen scraps in an enclosed system. One side gets filled with composting material. When it’s full, you start loading the other side. Both sides get turned every few days. This system works well, but only produces enough compost for one garden bed. A big pile of composting material makes a relatively small amount of compost, but it’s like liquid gold. Next fall, I’ll add another enclosed compost system built from wood pallets.
This year, I’ve decided to go all out. I’m hoping that over the course of the next year, there’ll be enough compost for most of my beds.
Here’s what I’m doing…
- Maxing out my dual composters
- Using several wire enclosed compost bins with no kitchen scraps, just green and brown plant material and one for leaf mulch only.
- Applying composting material directly to garden beds not in use during the winter (Lasagna garden beds)
- Allowing beneficial plants like beans and peas to naturally compost without removing the dying plants.
I plan on filling these simple wire bins as quickly as possible. When they’re full, I’ll create a new one. The extra straw is used as brown material with my kitchen vegetable scraps. I also toss in old plants from the garden too.
I mulch my leaves and also take some from the neighbors. Plain leaf mulch allowed to sit and become compost or “leaf mold” is one of the best composts you can use. The process take a while, but it’s worth it.
Let’s keep it simple and easy to remember.
Compost only needs green ingredients, brown ingredients, time, air, and water.
- Composting is a natural process that takes time. Approximately 6-12 months. I start here… My kitchen compost bucket.
All vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds + filter, tea bags, and egg shells get deposited here. The only exception are the vegetable scraps I freeze in a gallon plastic bag to make vegetable broth. When it’s full, it goes out to one of the compost bins, usually every other day. I also toss in any garden plants I remove from the garden.
The “green” or nitrogen layers are…
- grass and non-diseased plant clippings
- vegetable, herb, and fruit scraps
- coffee grounds and filter paper
- tea bags
2. When I toss in the kitchen scraps, I throw in twice as much dry, brown plant material.
The “brown” or carbon layers are…
- shredded dead leaves
- sawdust and wood shavings
- shredded newspaper
- wood chips
3. Turn your compost at least one a week for a large pile or twice a week for the easy to turn bins. Also add water if it looks dry. It should look like a wrung out sponge.
Never add meat, bones, poultry, fish, human and pet waste, dead animals, glossy paper, pressure treated lumber, whole eggs, fat, or any dairy products to your pile.
You really can’t screw this up unless you get it too wet, add things from the don’t list, or forget to add 2X brown to green.
This process is a lot like creating lasagna garden beds. They are the easiest beds to build, maintain, and produce an amazing amount of produce. Check out my blog post on how to create these easy lasagna garden beds in your available space here.
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