This is the first post of a series we are doing this month at Christian Mommy Blogger…all things Gardening! Composting is key to having optimized soil so your garden can thrive! Thank you Megan for an introduction to Composting!
I’m going to start with a bit of honesty. I have a black thumb. Okay, I’ve said it! I’ve repeatedly tried to keep plants in the house (I’ve read they help clean the air, plus they make me happy), but each one has met their death because of my failure to care for them properly. I don’t like this about myself, but I’m being honest here!
Because I haven’t been able to maintain a house plant, I haven’t even attempted a home garden yet. There is one aspect of gardening I am interested in, though that may be of interest to you too…composting.
Genesis 1:28 tells us: “God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
I believe He gave us control when he said to “subdue it.” To me, that does not mean wasting resources and doing whatever we want. The responsibility can feel overwhelming when you think about the big picture, but let’s bring it down to a personal level. We can each do small things to make a difference. Composting is a great way to reduce waste and re-use items too.
WHAT TO COMPOST:
Compost is defined as a mixture of decaying organic substances (appetizing, huh?!!). It is made up of three parts:
- Greens – vegetable and fruit scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds, etc.
- Browns— twigs, egg shells, cardboard, dead leaves, etc.
This list was created by The Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov ) detailing what should and should not be composted:
- Animal ( cow or horse) manure
- Cardboard rolls
- Clean paper
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Cotton rags
- Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
- Fireplace ashes
- Fruits and vegetables
- Grass clippings
- Hair and fur
- Hay and straw
- Nut shells
- Shredded newspaper
- Tea bags
- Wood chips
- Wool rags
- Yard trimmings
No, don’t compost…
- Black walnut tree leaves or twigs (releases substances that might be harmful to plants)
- Coal or charcoal ash (might contain substances harmful to plants)
- Dairy products and eggs (creates odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies)
- Diseased or insect-ridden plants (diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants)
- Fats, grease, lard, or oils (creates odor problems and attracts pests such as rodents and flies)
- Meat or fish bones and scraps (creates odor problems and attracts pests such as rodents and flies)
- Pet wastes (might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans)
- Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides (might kill beneficial composting organisms)
HOW TO COMPOST:
First, it is easiest to keep some sort of bucket on your counter or in your pantry to collect scraps. I bought a special one for the job that has a carbon filter, but any bucket will do. You’ll find that you have fewer fruit flies if you keep it closed and empty it frequently. (Note: you need to chop or shred larger pieces before placing in your pile, so I do this as I place them in my small bin).
There are many techniques to choose from, but the one my family is going to try is the backyard technique (also detailed at www.epa.gov.) because you add materials as you go.
- Choose a location for your bin (or pile if you prefer not to use a bin). It is best to place it in the shade near a water source.
- As you collect browns and greens, add them to your pile or bin. (wet brown materials when you add them)
- Once your pile is substantial (over 10 inches), mix in grass clippings. You can add more fruit and veggie scraps, but be sure to bury them at least 10 inches.
- Now cover with a tarp to retain moisture (optional)
- Once the bottom is rich in color, the compost is ready (2 months to 2 years)
In our household, we currently collect scraps, but have not created our compost pile yet. I’d love to read your comments about what has worked for you. Let me know if you try the backyard technique detailed here too. It’s a small step towards reducing waste and respecting this beautiful earth our God created! Plus, you can use it to fertilize your home gardens!
Do you compost??