Backyard Composting Made (Relatively) Easy

Green waste from your yard and kitchen accounts for approximately 25% of the material you throw away each week. Composting this material will not only help your community and environment, but can also improve the soil in your flower or vegetable garden. If you’re interested and up for the challenge, there are a few things you’ll need to consider.

Will you be composting inside or outside? Is this going to be a continual process or a one-time batch of biodegradable items you’re looking to get rid of? Either way, you’ll need to consider your space and the location of your compost pile.

Are you going to compost inside or outside? If you have ample space in your yard, it could be as simple as a covered trench or hole in the ground. If space is more of an issue, a devoted container may be the best option.

Composting containers vary, and odor control is especially important if you are going to commit to the indoor variety.

Regardless of whether you compost indoors or outside, there are four main components to successful composting: moisture, oxygen content, temperature, and a good mixture of ingredients.

Your compost pile should be moist, but not wet. Proper drainage is crucial because too much liquid can flush away nutrients and heat as well as invite mosquitos and other pests. You should cover the compost without closing it off to good oxygen flow. You want to keep the material aerated in order to foster an ideal environment for aerobic bacteria (the kind that thrive on oxygen) rather than anaerobic bacteria (which tend to cause unpleasant odors). You can aerate your compost manually with a rake, shovel, or pitchfork or invest in a tumbling bin that you crank by hand to mix the compost. You’ll want to keep your compost well insulated, as the best breakdown occurs between the temperature of 140 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit, although any temperature above freezing will be sufficient.

Next, you’ll need to buy some worms. Red Worms are considered the best for composting because they eat at least their body weight in compost per day. Approximately 1000 worms costs somewhere between $15 and $40. Check out http://www.redwormcomposting.com/ for more information on worms.

Once you get a system going that works for you, you can dispose of yard waste, table scraps, and even some paper all in the same bin. Give it a shot! Your flowers will appreciate it.

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