Composting: A Positive Way to Recycle Waste.
We are all living in exciting times right now with the rapid growth that we are experiencing today. Accompanying growth is change. As our economy and our population swells in the Lower Mainland, so our landscape changes. What most of us don’t realize is that, with all this new development and growth, our landfills are filling up way too fast! In this issue, we give you an in-depth look at how you can take a step towards healing our fragile planet by recycling your food waste and other biodegradable waste through COMPOSTING.
Back Yard Composting
What is Composting?
In nature, organic material, such as plants and trees, fall to the ground and are broken down into tiny pieces by micro organisms. This broken down material is called Humus. Humus looks and feels like soil and contains the nutrients of the original plant material. The existing pants and trees then use there nutrients to continue to live and grow. This process in relatively slow in nature. Backyard Composting is a means of speeding it up.
It is less wasteful. When we compost, we divert “garbage” (green & brown waste) from landfills; preventing the creation of toxic runoffs and gases. Composting is also a way of feeding the soil with organic matter and nutrients necessary for life to thrive. Plus, it saves you money in the long run. You can use it all over the yard and won’t need to purchase many of the necessary garden supplies for a healthy garden all year round.
What Equipment Will I Need?
• Medium-Sized Container with a lid – this is what you will use to transport kitchen waste to your compost bin.
• Aeration Tool – this is anything that will allow you to give your compost pile some air without too much work i.e, a pitchfork, shovel or broom handle or compost aerator (check garden centres).
• Compost Bin – To purchase a bin, check your municipality or buy one at your local hardware or garden centre. Or contact Ladybug for instructions of how to build your own!!
When you have obtained all of the necessary equipment, the fun really begins. There is no “one way” to compost, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
Important Composting Ingredients:
There are 4 main ingredients necessary for making compost easily and efficiently.
Air – The anaerobic bacteria in your pile require air to survive. Make sure you aerate weekly by turning the pile or by poking holes in the pile!
Moisture – The microorganisms and bacteria require water to live. Try to keep the pile slightly moist.
Brown & Green Materials – The microorganisms that break down your compost require certain amounts of carbon (Brown Material) and nitrogen (Green Material) to work efficiently and produce great compost.
Good Brown Material:
Corn Stalks & Cobs
Dry Grass Clippings
Straw or Hay
Wood Ash (small amounts)
Sawdust (not from plywood, because of glues)
Shredded newsprint/cardboard (small amounts)
Good Green Material:
Coffee Grounds & Filters
Fruit & Veggies
Fresh Grass Clippings
Tea Bags and Tea Leaves
Manure from Vegetarian animal (not cat or dog)
Materials to Avoid:
Cat or Dog Manure
Water, Grease, fat & Oils
Meat, fish & bones
Grains, Breads or baked goods
Weeds with seeds
Materials treated with herbicides or pesticides
How do I Compost?
Line the bottom of your bin with some brown material. Then place some green material over it.Cover this with another layer of Brown material. Keep adding layers of brown and green when supplies permit.
You should have some rich soil available at the bottom ready within 12-18months!
Don’t forget to aerate the pile often!
How do I Identify Finished Compost?
Humus (the resulting material) looks and feels like rich soil. It is dark, crumblyand smells fresh and earthy. There may be some bits of the original material in the humus.Take these pieces out and put them back into the compost pile.
What do I do With Finished Compost?
In the Garden…
At any time, though the best times are in the spring before planting, or, in the fall after harvesting your garden.
In Pots & Containers…
Mix 1 part compost with 1 part potting soil
On the Lawn…
Aerate the lawn in the spring and rake in a 2 inch layer of compost for patchy parts work in compost, water the area, then plant grass seed.
As Top Dressing…
Add to potted plants, or underneath flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees.
We hope you enjoy these tips and happy composting!!