Monday, April 3, 2017

5 Easy Steps for Composting! Help the Earth and Make Your Garden Prettier!

Some of you may be asking how composting fits into the theme of my blog “Pretty in the City,” and I have to admit it’s not the most glamorous topic. However, I do think that taking care of the earth is everyone’s responsibility, and if we all make an effort, we can make a difference! Also, it makes you feel good to take care of the earth, thus making you feel “your prettiest on the inside! “ How does it help the earth? By saving your fruits, vegetables and egg shells for the compost bin, they don’t go to the landfill! And after the composting material is made and used, it adds rich organic matter back into your local environment, which is healthy for plants and animals.
So, composting. What is it, and why should you do it? Composting is a way of creating super-rich, organic soil that can be used for gardening, in your yard or for potted plants. It is made from things you already have, and that you probably throw away in the garbage daily. If you have a yard or a place that you can collect leaves and twigs from, and you also eat vegetables, fruit, or eggs, then you have everything you need for composting. (You will also need water, and something to keep the composting material in. (See below.))

So here is how to do it—

Step 1- Set up a space to hold your compost. This can be a hand-made 3 ft x 3 ft. x 3 ft. bin that you make out of wood or stakes and chicken wire. It should be in the shade. The other option is a composting bin that you purchase from Home Depot or online. These are nice because they are self-contained, have a locking door to keep animals out, and spin, which is an easy way to mix your compost. They are more expensive of course. I ordered the one pictured below from Amazon.

Step 2- Gather brown biodegradables, which will serve as carbon-producing base material. This is as easy as gathering up leaves, twigs, sawdust, wood chips, branches, shredded paper such as newsprint and cardboard, nut shells, coffee filters, and even shredded wool and cotton. The picture below is of the inside of my compost bin, showing the brown biodegradables and then some veggie scraps that I threw on top.

Step 3- Gather green biodegradables, which encourage nitrogen production. Collect your old vegetable and fruit scraps, egg shells, grass and leave clippings, dryer lint, tea and coffee grounds. Avoid pet waste, meat, eggs, dairy and oils.

Step 4- Add Water and mix it up, which promotes breakdown and aerates the compost. When you see steam coming off of the compost pile, you will know that the organic matter is breaking down.

Step 5- Use your wonderful new compost! It should be a rich brown color, and free of any food waste. Use on lawns, for your garden and for potted plants!

I hope you enjoyed this short article on composting. Share any comments below. I will add pictures of the end product later!

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