Composting could be described as the most basic method of recycling - taking food waste in your home and breaking down the organic matter to be returned to the soil. It’s a fantastic way to add some nutrients to your garden, and help reduce the waste coming out of your home.
Composting might seem overwhelming if you’ve never tried it before, but it’s actually a very simple process and it’s easy to get started! Today we’re sharing a few of our best tips and tricks for getting your compost pile started, along with some DIY ideas for a compost bin of your own.
Here are a few tips for getting started with composting
The first step to getting started is to figure out how you want to store your compost. The most common method is to have a compost bin or pile in your backyard (keep reading for some ideas on how to set that up!), but if you’re low on space you could have something as simple as a plastic bin stored underneath your sink. Ideally, though, the best size for a compost bin is at least 3x3 feet.
The most important part of composting is knowing what you can and can’t compost. You can compost things like eggshells, coffee grounds, grass and lawn clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, dryer lint, shredded paper, tea bags, and other garden waste. You cannot compost meat, dairy products, pet waste, animal food products, cooked food, or fats and oils. Before you try something new in your compost pile, be sure to check and see if it will work! Check out our video for some helpful tips.
You want the bottom layer of your compost pile to be made up of things like twigs, lawn scraps, and leaves. Once you’ve got a solid layer, wet it down and begin adding your kitchen scraps and other organic matter. Then, top it off with a few handfuls of Harvest Organics Garden Soil (or composting soil, if you already have some).
Water the composting pile regularly to aid in the decomposition process. You want it to be damp, but not wet. Once a week (or even every couple of weeks) use a pitchfork or aerator to turn the pile - this helps the material break down faster.
If you begin to notice a rotten or unpleasant smell in your compost pile, it’s likely that you’ve added something you shouldn’t or the pile needs a litter aeration. Compost shouldn’t smell bad, so be sure to pay attention when you go out to check on it.
Many people store a small bucket on their kitchen counter to toss kitchen scraps into, then add this to it composting pile every few days.
Once your pile looks like soil, you’re ready to add it to your garden! This process takes patience, and it can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months to have a fully composted pile.
For a brief summary, download our reference guide.
Now that you know how to get started, let’s take a look at some composting bin options!
DIY COMPOSTING BINS
Use a trash can to create a DIY tumbling compost bin.
You can turn a large plastic bin into a compost container if you don’t have much room in your yard.
It’s easy (and affordable) to create a larger composting bin using pallets.
A large compost bin, made of wood and chicken wire, is a very attractive option for your backyard.
A DIY compost tumbler makes the job of turning very easy.
PRO-TIP: Planting mint near your composting bin can help deter pesky rodents!