Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Joys of Compost

I was so thrilled to get my first request for a blog post, and yes, the request was for a post about, get ready for it........home composting!
As I mentioned on Tuesday's post, Tyler and I have tried our hand at composting and have gathered a few tips that we can share.
First of all, what is composting and why do it? Well, according to Wikipedia it is the purposeful biodegradation of organic matter, such as yard and food waste. So why do it? Who doesn't want to save money on potting soil and trash bags?! Compost is probably the best thing you can do for your plants. I promise, your roses will smell sweeter and your tomatoes will taste better! Plus, it is so good for the environment and apparently green is the new black!

Composting so easy to do, by the way. Tyler and I just make sure to keep all of our kitchen scraps like fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds (Starbucks gives away their coffee grounds just for this purpose so be sure to ask), egg shells and tea bags and then we throw them in this galvanized bucket that we got from World Market. World Market also makes actual countertop compost buckets but they are more expensive and this one serves the same purpose.

After, our bucket has filled up we take it outside to where the magic happens. Tyler built this guy this spring after our, way too expensive and ugly store bought bin fell apart. Tyler puts leaves, grass clippings, paper and our kitchen scraps in here and mixes it up about once a week.

The key things to remember about composting are green, brown, water and air. Your compost needs both green materials which are weeds, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, etc and brown materials such as dead leaves, pine straw, wood chips and other dry organic materials. Composting also requires watering. We water ours every week or so if we are lucky. Just give it enough water to make it look damp but not watery. Lastly your compost needs air. It needs to be "turned" or stirred every week or 2 to ensure that oxygen is constantly introduced to even the stuff on the bottom.
One thing to remember is the more attention you give it the faster it will decompose. There is nothing wrong with just dumping stuff in and never touching it but it will take MUCH longer (up to a year) to decompose. If you do everything right, it can be ready in about a month. However, you can't really mess this up!

Tips from our experiences:
-Plastic store bought bins like this one work faster because they get hotter and they have a cover but sometimes they don't hold up as well.
-Shady spots, like ours, slow it down.
-Put at least one bag of grass clippings in each time you cut the grass.
-Don't forget to put some of your dead leaves or pine straw in before you bag it and put it on the street.
- Newspapers are great for compost but avoid any paper with too much ink.
- Cut up anything that might be too big like paper or corn husks, the smaller the better.
- Don't put in anything with seeds or you might get some pepper plants or a peach tree growing in your bin!

Below are a few great sites if you are interested in learning more:

Happy Composting!


  1. Yay you have a blog!!! Soo glad you put this on your gmail chat!! I am now a follower! Keep up the good work! Miss and love you!
    Caroline :)

  2. We've been wanting to start a compost, but I'm terrified that our puppy will use it as a playground!