How to compost at home

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Composting is a great way to reduce your kitchen waste and recycle it into useful fertilizer that can enrich and nourish your soil to grow food or flowers.

Climate change and rising food costs mean we are all encouraged to grow our own food where possible and reduce kitchen waste. Composting is a way to do both and it’s easy to do, but there are a few pitfalls that can prevent your kitchen scraps from turning into a nice, rich organic fertilizer.

What is compost?

Composting is a natural process that turns organic food or yard waste into useful fertilizer. For this to happen, carbon and nitrogen must mix in a 24:1 ratio, along with water and oxygen. Carbon is an energy source, nitrogen provides protein. Water and air facilitate the composting process.

Compostable material is divided into greens and browns. Greens are organic food waste and create nitrogen. Browns are carbon-rich waste such as old egg cartons, old newspapers, dry leaves, dry grass, pine needles, twigs, or sawdust.

How to start composting

The first thing to learn is the process and composition of compost and to understand what can and cannot be composted.

You can use any container, like an old wooden crate, to make your compost, but you’ll give yourself every chance of turning your waste into compost by buying a composter.

Stationary composters are standing containers that are constructed in a way that allows air to circulate through the compost inside. The compost cups have a handle that allows you to regularly turn the compost without digging inside. They have a higher success rate than stationary composters. Vermicomposters contain garden worms that work their magic to break down organic waste and turn it into compost. They are perfect for apartments, balconies and urban environments.

Tips for composting

Keep the browns at the bottom and layer the greens. This will keep the waste aerated and allow the growth of microorganisms. Microorganisms are the heroes of the compost heap and do most of the work of decomposition. Stir the compost regularly to make sure plenty of air gets into it. It should be ready in three to four months.

What to compost?

Cut dry grass, leaves, coffee grounds, lettuce, potato peels, banana peels, avocado peels, old newspapers, cardboard, sawdust, shells eggs, rice and pasta. You should not compost meat and dairy products, oils and fats, citrus fruits, acidic foods and animal waste.

How to use compost

Basically, compost can be added to any soil. Whether inside or outside the house. Mix with soil in potted plants. Spread compost on your beds. Use it as a mulch to protect roots and soil during the cold winter months. Add to your vegetable garden and you will notice the difference, your vegetables will be bigger, stronger and more delicious.

Composting is a way to use up food waste and it helps you produce your own food, so it’s extremely satisfying to do. The best thing you can do is buy yourself a composter and get started. You will not regret it.

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