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Start Composting at Home | 7 Tips for Beginners

Composting is a simple and effective way to reduce your environmental impact and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting out, composting is an easy and affordable way to give back to the planet and improve the health of your plants. But if you’re new to the practice, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together these seven tips for beginners who want to start composting at home. 

Discover the art of composting at home and unlock the potential of nutrient-rich organic matter to promote a thriving garden. With just a few simple ingredients of your own yard debris and kitchen scraps, you can easily create a valuable resource that will enhance the health and vitality of your plants.

What is composting at home?

Composting at home is the process of breaking down organic materials such as food waste, yard trimmings, and other natural debris into nutrient-rich soil. This process can be done using a variety of methods, including traditional composting with a bin or pile, vermicomposting with worms, or using a compost tumbler. 

By composting at home, you can divert waste from landfills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create a valuable resource for your garden. Composting is a natural and sustainable way to improve the health of your plants and reduce your environmental impact.

In simple words, composting at home is a natural, nutrient-rich soil made from things like leaves, fruit wastes, plants, and food scraps. It helps plants grow better by fixing soil problems, like holding water and adding nutrients. It’s like a secret weapon for gardeners to make their plants happy and healthy.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Is composting at home worth it?

Yes, it is definitely worth it. There are 5 main reasons why composting at home is a beneficial practice for individuals and the environment:

  1. Reduces waste: Composting diverts organic waste, reducing the amount of trash that ends up in landfills and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Encourages sustainability: Composting is a sustainable practice that promotes a circular economy by closing the loop on waste and using it to create something valuable.
  3. Saves money: By composting at home, you can save money on buying expensive fertilizers and soil amendments.
  4. Improves soil quality: Compost naturally enriches the soil with nutrients and beneficial microorganisms, which helps plants grow healthier.
  5. Reduces chemical use: Compost can reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which can be harmful to the environment and human health.

Why is Composting Good for the Environment?

The benefits of composting include reduced waste, greenhouse gas emissions, dependence on chemical fertilizers, and sustainability. There are 4 main reasons why composting is good for the environment:

  1. Reduces reliance on chemical fertilizers: Compost is a natural and organic fertilizer that enriches the soil with nutrients and beneficial microorganisms, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers that can be harmful to the environment.
  2. Reduces methane emissions: When organic waste is disposed of in landfills, it decomposes without oxygen and releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. The aerobic process of composting, however, reduces methane emissions.
  3. Greatly improves soil quality: Compost improves soil structure, water-holding capacity, and nutrient retention, which helps plants grow healthier. This, in turn, promotes healthier ecosystems and can reduce erosion and water pollution.
  4. Encourages sustainability: Composting promotes sustainability by closing the loop on waste and transforming it into something useful.

How to Compost at Home Step by Step

Composting at home is an easy and rewarding process that can be broken down into 6 super easy steps:

  1. Choose a composting bin: You can buy a compost bin or make one easily at home. Make sure it has good airflow and drainage.
  2. Gather compostable materials: Collect organic materials like fruit and vegetable scraps (like banana peel), tea leaves, coffee grounds, yard waste, and shredded paper. 
  3. Add materials to the bin: Layer materials to create a balanced mix of nitrogen-rich green materials (e.g. vegetable scraps/grass clippings) and carbon-rich brown materials (e.g. leaves/shredded paper). Add water to keep it moist.
  4. Turn the compost: Mix the materials with a pitchfork or shovel, and introduce oxygen as you go. This will speed up the decomposition process.
  5. Monitor the compost: Check the compost pile regularly to ensure it stays moist and monitor the temperature. A healthy compost pile will heat up as the materials break down.
  6. The compost is ready: After several months to a year, the compost will be ready to use. It should be dark, crumbly, and earthy-smelling. 
Image Credit: Pixabay

7 Composting Tips for Beginners

Below are seven composting tips for beginners:

  1. Start small: Start with a small pile. This will be easier to manage and won’t overwhelm you with a large amount of material to compost.
  2. Get the right materials: A good compost pile needs a balance of carbon-rich brown materials (e.g. dried leaves) and nitrogen-rich green materials (e.g. vegetable scraps). Aim for a 3:1 ratio of brown to green.
  3. Chop up materials: Cutting or shredding materials into smaller pieces will help them break down more quickly and make the compost pile easier to manage.
  4. Keep the pile moist: Make sure the compost pile is damp but not soggy. Water it regularly, especially in dry weather.
  5. Turn the pile regularly: Turning the compost pile aerates it and helps speed up the decomposition process. Aim to turn it in every week or two.
  6. Avoid some materials: Avoid adding meat, dairy, and oily foods as they can attract pests and slow down the composting process. Also, don’t add weeds or invasive plants.
  7. Be patient: Composting takes time, so don’t expect to have finished composting in just a few weeks. Depending on the conditions, it can take several months to a year for the compost to be ready to use. Usually 4 to 6 months.

What to Compost at home?

There are many organic materials that can be composted, including food scraps, lawn trimmings, etc. Here are some materials you get at your home to start composting:

  • Rotten fruits and veggies, and their peels and scraps
  • Plant trimmings, tea leaves, and tea bags
  • Egg, and nutshells (Not Walnuts)
  • Coffee grounds and paper filters
  • Tissue papers, newspapers, and napkins
  • Cotton, wool rags, fur, and hair 
  • Flowers, straw, and hay 
  • Sawdust, coconut fiber, and wood chips

13 Things Not to Compost

While many organic materials can be composted, there are 13 things that should not be added to your compost pile. These include:

    1. Meat, dairy, and oily foods: These items can attract pests and can take a long time to decompose.
    2. Diseased plants: These can spread disease and pests to your garden.
    3. Large wood: It may take years to decompose.
    4. Weeds or invasive plants: These can take root in your compost and spread to other areas of your garden.
    5. Pet waste: This can contain harmful bacteria that can be transferred to your garden.
    6. Synthetic materials: Plastic, metal, and glass cannot be composted and can contaminate your compost.
    7. Baked Items: It attracts pests and increases the growth of dangerous bacteria.
    8. Charcoal or ashes: These can contain chemicals that are harmful to your garden.
    9. Fish, bones, and poultry: It can make an odor, and also attracts pests.
    10. Glossy Paper Products: They can be harmful to the mixture and take a lot of time.
    11. Walnuts: This thing releases a compound that can be dangerous to plants
    12. Latex Products: Latex products do not biodegrade easily and can release harmful chemicals into the compost pile.
    13. Paraffin Wax: Paraffin wax is not recommended for composting as it is derived from petroleum and does not biodegrade easily.

With this step-by-step guide, we hope you can start composting at home and turn your kitchen and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil for your home garden. Remember to be patient, as composting can take time, but the end result is worth it. 

Not only will you be reducing your waste and helping the environment, but you’ll also be improving the health and productivity of your garden. So grab a pitchfork, find a sunny spot, and get started on your compost pile today!

Read this blog to make your kitchen garden, click here!

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