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What is Compost?
Compost is organic matter that has decomposed (I know that sounds kinda icky, but just think of it as fancy dirt).
When organic matter decomposes you have a dirt like substance that is rich in nutrients and helps your plants grow big and beautiful.
Compost slowly releases nutrients into the soil that you add it to.
This is why you can sometimes forgo using fertilizer if you have good rich compost. Because unlike fertilizer, which is like a burst of food to plants, you get to nurture your plants with compost giving them all the good food they want.
And in addition to feeding the plants, compost also helps keep a balance of air and water in the soil, making plants even happier.
Where Can You Get Compost?
You can make your own compost (info below) or if you don’t want to wait for that process or go through it at all you can buy bagged compost.
What Do You Need for Composting?
If there’s anything that is super easy with gardening, it’s making your own compost. It’s super basic and easy to do, as long as you keep to a few compost rules.
Compost is made of of essential two kinds of organic material: green and brown.
Greens provide nitrogen and browns provide carbon.
You want to try to keep a good ratio of 1/3 green and 2/3 brown items to help the compost be made faster.
If you have too much green it can cause too much nitrogen leading to smelly icky stuff that processes slow. So making sure you have enough brown materials for your compost is important.
And the next thing that is needed is something to put the greens and browns in. And what you choose needs to allow for enough oxygen, water, and heat to help everything decompose nicely.
And what you use depends on you.
So you can make your own compost bin, this can be anything from some wooden pallets you make a ‘bin’ out of or some wire that you make into a container . You just need to be able to turn it aka toss it around. Usually if you have some homemade compost pile it makes it a bit easier to have a pitchfork to toss the organic matter around.
Or (and this is my favorite because the process just goes faster) you can use a compost tumbler. And fast = good in my book. This way you just spin the container to toss around your compost.
I personally use this tumbler that I got off of Amazon: Outdoor Tumbling Composter.
Another great thing to use is a small kitchen compost bin. This is a small specially made pin with a carbon filter that you put your vegetable waste in. I think this is an essential composting tool anyone wanting to make their own composter needs. Otherwise you’ll be trucking your vegetable and fruit waste out to your compost pile every…. freakin….. time.
This is my countertop kitchen compost bin that I use, it’s also nice and sleek looking: Utopia Kitchen Stainless Steel Compost Bin
What Can You Put In Compost?
First lets go over a few things never to put in your compost: meat, dairy, fats and oil, diseased yard waste, anything with chemicals.
Also grains are not recommended (although some people say put them in the compost), it can attract wildlife that you don’t want and just be downright smelly.
Green Compost Materials
- Coffee Grounds
- Fruit and Vegetable Scraps
- Loose Leaf Tea
- Fresh Flowers
- Animal Hair
- Seaweed or Kelp
- Manure from Herbivores
Brown Compost Materials
- Napkins Paper towels that don’t have grease or chemicals on them
- Dead plants and flowers
- Dry Leaves
- Shredded paper (including junk mail and bills, no glossy paper)
- Paper towel cardboard rolls
- Toilet paper cardboard rolls
- Wood Ash
- Brown Paper Bags
- Post-it Notes
- Untreated Wood Sawdust