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If you have been thinking about composting for awhile but don't know where to start I have put together some basic do's and dont's for you. Before you even make it outdoors to your large compost pile it begins in your home. Not only will you reduce your household waste ( not to mention save on garbage bags), you will reduce the amount of waste in the landfills,and you can create a rich, wonderful soil that will benefit small or large gardens, and container plants. Another great thing is that compost piles don't require a lot of room to start or maintain- a small corner in your yard is all you need.
The Basic Composting Process
You will only need a few things to start- you can keep a bowl on your counter for scraps and such but I prefer to use a compost container with a lid and filter. I have a counter top ceramic 1 gallon compost bin like this:
Norpro 1 Gallon Ceramic Compost Keeper, White
sitting on my counter for scraps, I take it out about twice a week and add it to my outdoor compost-easy peasy. But this stainless steel one is beautiful and would look great sitting out on a counter.
Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin 1 Gallon
Next you need some type of container outdoors to contain your compost. I have this compost bin:
Soilsaver Classic Composter
It works well and serves its purpose, however if I had researched it a little more several years ago I would have bought one that you can crank and turnover the compost like this:
Lifetime 60028 65-Gallon Compost Tumbler
A quick look on Pinterest can yield you all kinds of inspiration for the type of composter that is right for you. I have seen homemade ones made from pallets, or old plastic barrels. There are many really nice ready to go setups that you can purchase in stores or online.
Print these top 10 household items to put in and leave out of your compost, and put it up on your refrigerator for quick reference.
used tea bags
cardboard- toilet paper and paper towel rolls
grains-cereal, crackers, rice, pasta
dead houseplants and the soil
domestic feces- cow, horse, chickens are ok
glossy paper-magazine type
personal products-tampons, toilet paper,etc
plastic or styrofoam
Now moving outdoors there are quite a few green and brown compost materials you can and should add to your basic makeup of soil and household waste. Brown materials include; dry leaves and grass, straw, small amounts of ash, sawdust, dried plant stalks. For Green materials use; fresh green leaves and grass clippings, manure, fresh weeds, and kitchen scraps. Ideally you want a little more brown than green in your compost.
You will want to layer all the different materials in layers of rich organic soil to create the best combination. It should feel about like a damp sponge, add water to your pile accordingly. Compost should be turned over about every 7-10 days to keep air circulating through the soil and moves healthy organisms throughout. Your compost is ready to use when it no longer resembles the items you put in, does not smell, and looks like damp soil. Add it right into gardens or use it to pot container plants.
Happy Composting and let me know if you are planning on or are already composting!
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