Composting 101 - The What, the Why and the How of it!
Composting - We have all heard about it, many are probably doing it as well but a lot of us haven’t stepped into the amazing natural garden booster process. Nature has this amazing way of making everything useful - even the rotting onions or the fragrant rose, nothing goes wasted.
If you have been on the fence about composting, let’s help you make a decision by digging into it.
What is composting?
Composting is a recycling microbial process of organic matter like plants, leaves, grass clippings, vegetable scraps etc and turning it into a soil enriching beneficial fertiliser for your garden.
Why should we do it?
Oh for so many reasons!
First - Your garden will get ALL the natural nutrition it needs from this rich natural fertiliser that you created at home.
Second- You are helping reduce waste and carbon footprint from the environment.
Third - You are saving so much money in buying those expensive fertilisers from the store when you can make your own from all the leftover plant matter at home and kitchen.
What all can I dump in the compost and what is a No- No?
You can put all your vegetable scraps like onion peels, any vegetable going bad, fruits, tea, coffee, egg shells, bread, cereal. A general rule is to keep the green and brown matter to 50-50 ratio. Green being all these above items mentioned and brown being leaves, plant stems, bark, sawdust etc. It helps keep the nitrogen balanced from the green part like coffee grounds while the brown part takes care of the carbon. It also helps in making the decaying job easier for microbes and worms which in-turn will help with less smell and a healthy compost.
Do not put dairy, meat, fish, or grease unless you want a visit to the stink town or are missing pests. Not to miss that it will make the decaying process slower. Also don’t put weeds or diseased plants, cat litter, dog waste in it as both might create problems later.
How to compost at home?
There is a misconception that you can only compost if you have a huge space and you can start creating a dump pile to compost or have space for huge barrels. While a good way to do it, it is not the case anymore. Let’s see the way you can do it.
- Backyard compost pile: Works well for people with a big space. You can find a dry shady spot and start your pile. Once you have started, cover it and keep turning it regularly to aerate and also time and again you will need to add water if the scraps have not provided enough moisture. The mixture should feel like a wrung out sponge.
- Compost tumblers: These are for those with lesser space like a patio. Nowadays, there are a lot of options to buy in the market or if you want to create your own, they are pretty easy to make. Just find a video and make one of your own compost buckets. Do remember to rotate the compost in your tumblers regularly to get oxygen.
- Worm bins: This is for those who don't want to keep a big pile outdoors or dont have any space outside. The most ideal way to compost for urban spaces. Worms are perfect for small apartments as they don’t occupy much space and can be as small as a shoe box and if done right, it won't stink as well. Just keep adding the right amount of brown and green for the worms to eat and they will keep creating the garden gold for you.
- City Composting Services: If you are not able to do any of it for some reason but don’t want your scraps to get wasted or end up in a trash pile somewhere, then you can find out the composting services in your area and drop your green and brown waste there. Store your green waste in the freezer and get it out when ready to be dropped in the city compost. This way, even if you are not getting the direct benefits, you sure are helping keep the environment clean and healthy and giving a boost to a garden somewhere.
You can find detailed videos online for any of the options that suit you. Your garden will thank you for all the black gold that you are creating for it and you will see the rewards soon enough. Now get started.