Are you a beginner to composting and don’t know where to start? Everlast Services has put together the ultimate guide to help you get started with composting. You’ll be a composting expert in no time at all!
Composting is all the rage at the moment; not only is it environmentally sustainable by helping to break down any organic waste you produce, it can also help to improve the health of your garden, enabling your plants to flourish to their full potential.
But what is composting and how do you get started?
What is Composting?
Composting is a natural process that involved the recycling of decomposed organic materials to create compost, which is very rich soil. Pretty much anything that was once a living organism can be decomposed and turned into compost. This includes food scraps, fallen leaves and debris from flora, and even things like unused kitty litter, ash from burnt wood and used paper towel.
Composting is essentially a process which supports the ‘circle of life’ by returning the nutrients of organic waste back into the soil, as nature intended.
Benefits of Composting
There are several benefits that composting offers, which may help to convince you to start composting as soon as possible. These benefits include:
- If you already recycle, composting can help to reduce your garbage output by up to 30%. This can help to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Compost is incredibly nutrient-rich and so can help to condition soil for garden and lawn use. The nutrients that compost contains help to feed the soil while also helping it to retain moisture.
- The micro-organisms contained within compost also helps to support healthy soil by aerating it, decomposing organic material used by plants, and helping to safeguard against plant diseases.
- Compost further helps to protect the environment by providing you with a natural way of feeding and fertilising your garden, which saves you from having to use harmful and toxic chemical fertilisers.
- Using compost can help to reduce the amount of water you use in your garden because it helps to increase soil’s water-retaining capacity. This makes it perfect for drought-prone environments and can even help you to save money by reducing your water bill.
Where to Begin
If you’re ready to start composting, you’re going to need to gather the following items:
- Brown materials, which are materials that contain carbon, such as dead leaves and flowers
- Green materials, which are materials that contain nitrogen, such as herbivore animal manure and kitchen waste
- Several shovels worth of garden soil
- A pitchfork
First, you want to locate the perfect spot for your compost pile or bin. Ideally, this should be dry and shady.
Once you’ve chosen your spot, spread a layer of brown materials as a foundation. Then, add a green layer, before spreading a layer of garden soil. You then want to add soil to adequately moisten all three layers.
Repeat this layering process until your pile is about a meter high. You should then cover it in some way. If you’re using a bin, simply close the lid; if your compost is in a pile use a canvas to cover it.
Using a pitchfork, you should turn your compost pile over every few weeks. If you see steam rising, this is normal; it’s just a by-product of the decomposition process. You can also continue to add any organic materials you produce, whether in the kitchen or in your garden.
In warmer seasons, you should also water the compost pile regularly to keep it moist.
- Try to maintain the correct balance of carbon and nitrogen. Experts suggest that this should be a ratio of one part green material and two parts brown.
- Ensure that you keep your compost hydrated and moist without soaking it or over-watering it. Ideally, it should have the same moistness as a wrung out sponge. Not enough water will slow the decomposition process and too much will prevent aeration.
- Make sure that, if out in the open, your compost pile isn’t next to any wooden materials, like a fence. Otherwise, your compost pile will start to decompose the wood!
If you need help getting your compost started or have any other inquiries regarding landscaping or gardening, the experienced and professional team at Everlast Services can provide you with a helping hand. We’re more than happy to impart our years of wisdom to you and demonstrate our skills by completely making over, or even just tidying up, your yard.