Turn the pile. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Here's How, resources for those looking to try worm composting or Bokashi, Jeffrey Neal from Loop Closing has compiled. Cold composting is as simple as collecting yard waste or taking out the organic materials in your trash (such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and filters, and eggshells) and then corralling them in a pile or bin. And it really is layering — browns then greens, browns then greens. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 30 percent of what we throw away, and could be composted instead. A helpful analogy is to think of tending to your compost like tending a fire. For this step, you gotta think about the space you're currently living in. Pit composting, step by step: In spring, dig the first pit, maybe four by four feet, and two feet deep, in a spot where there is room for two similar pits alongside it. In the world of composting you're inevitably gonna hear about "the greens and browns" — the two main ingredients for your mix. (Of course, in the age of the coronavirus, make sure your community garden is open, and practice social distancing.). United States Environmental Protection Agency, Cornell Waste Management Institute's Small Scale Composting, U.S. Department of Agriculture Backyard Composting Tip Sheet. Pit composting, step by step: In spring, dig the first pit, maybe four by four feet, and two feet deep, in a spot where there is room for two similar pits alongside it. "All you need is a container you can seal and Bokashi mix, a colony of bacteria on grain." Water occasionally, or let rain do the job. This activates the compost pile and speeds the process along. Or you can simply get in there with a pitchfork and mix it around, bringing scraps from the middle and bottom to the top. Cover with anything you have – wood, plastic sheeting, carpet scraps. The composting process "happens" without human intervention because microbes and soil animals are on the job 24 hours a day, decomposing plant and animal remains. You can also ask your local grocery stores, restaurants or farmers markets to see if they have programs to take food scraps. Diggs says when you start out you might be turning the compost once every seven to 10 days. "Bad compost smells, well, bad," he says, "It's like what a smelly trash can or dumpster smells like ... Basically, it smells like a landfill.". Mixing the greens and browns together regularly helps increase the pile’s heat, which speeds up the composting process. Enriches soil, helping retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests. Your tip could appear in an upcoming episode. (Here's some more info on how to use worms and Bokashi.). Once your compost pile is established, mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material. Neal says in the end "the nose knows" when your compost is ready. Mixing the greens and browns together regularly helps increase the pile’s heat, which speeds up the composting process. ", Another small space idea, Neal says, is fermenting your food scraps with a Japanese method called Bokashi. Or sometimes a sour smell. Hot composting is better suited for advanced gardeners. Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. For example, it has suggestions of what to do if the pile has insects or is too wet. "Browns" are more carbon rich — think egg cartons, newspapers, dried leaves, and pine needles. "If one hundred percent of it is water, then nothing is going on. Some municipalities will pick up your food scraps from your home. Learn how to create and maintain an indoor worm composting bin. Meat and dairy products, though, are asking for trouble. Composting allows you to expedite this natural process to produce a regular supply of compost … There are many different ways to make a compost pile; we have provided the following for general reference. Remember the fire analogy — you gotta make sure the air is flowing, that it's wet but not too soggy. Remember to tend your pile and keep track of what you throw in. In other words, it is the process of taking organic materials, such as leaves, vegetables, fruits, logs, eggshells, coffee grounds, banana peels and dead animals and placing them in a pile or container along with water. When you make the first chop of the butt of that asparagus, boom, it could go right in there.". Also, you can store the food scraps in a bag in your freezer or the back of the fridge. "I think keeping it simple," Diggs says. Add brown and green materials as they are collected, making sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded. "It doesn't have to be, you know, all the things that you find online that are really cute little ceramic containers," says Diggs. Ultimately you always want more browns than greens — again, gotta have the dry to sop up the wet. Before you start piling on, recognize that there are two types of composting: cold and hot. When you're composting, your kitchen scraps should be part of a deliberate layering process to speed up decomposition. "If it's hot, you could get there in two months pretty easy, " Diggs says, "If it's cold made, you could be there in six months. We'll teach you how to turn your food waste into beautiful earthy compost in five simple steps. You should also alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. As for how much you turn it, you'll probably turn it less if you have the right ratio of greens to browns. If you do not have space for an outdoor compost pile, you can compost materials indoors using a special type of bin, which you can buy at a local hardware store, gardening supplies store, or make yourself. You can also put a little bit of browns on the very top to keep away flies and odors. There's a method for adding them to the pile (see step 4! 21, 2020. Jacqueline Weiss Updated: May. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has an excellent "compost trouble-shooting guide." Regular mixing or turning of the compost and some water will help maintain the compost. That's an easy way to avoid odors and insects in your kitchen. As for the ratio of "browns" to "greens," you often hear three or four parts of browns to one part greens. Shutterstock / Anna Hoychuk. Keep compost moist. Life Kit shares tips on how to turn your food scraps into rich soil through composting. That will make sure microorganisms can do their job. Your kitchen trash is already full of vegetable scraps, eggshells and fruit peels—go ahead and learn how to compost at home! How to Compost at Home. And maybe, as much as you're meal planning and reducing your food waste, there are certain things you're just not going to eat. Diggs says the browns are key because they allow water to flow, and air to flow, something called aeration. There are many different ways to make a compost pile; we have provided the following for general reference. Covering also prevents the compost from being over-watered by rain. Composting is nature’s own waste management process that nutrients are recycled back into an ecosystem. Your compost should be ready in two to five weeks. The audio portion of this story was produced by Audrey Nguyen. "There are times when I made [my worm box] an ottoman so I could relax with my feet up on them! He says it "can just be an old milk carton. Optional: Cover top of compost with a tarp to keep it moist. Of course, it's totally fine if you want to give your food scraps to someone else to make compost.
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