The Importance of Backyard Composting and How to Start Composting
Are you tired of feeling wasteful after throwing out food scraps? Do you want to do your part to help save the earth from pollution? Or do you maybe just want to help your flowers grow? If so then backyard composting may be the way to go. Composting is an easy and relatively cost-free way to make your own fertilizer, that not only is great for your plants, but also helps the environment. You may be asking yourself why this is necessary, since you could easily just purchase fertilizer from your local gardening store. Backyard composting is simply much more efficient and truly the superior option if you’re willing. Backyard composting can really help your garden thrive also.
Because backyard composts have natural ingredients, they provide many benefits to your garden and the earth. According to compostguide.com, “Using compost improves soil structure, texture, and aeration and increases the soil’s water-holding capacity.” This means you’re not only helping the planet but also your plants by allowing your soil to hold more water.
Some other benefits to your garden include: Loosening clay soil and increasing water-capacity in sandy soil, improving soil fertility and helping your plant’s roots grow healthier, and he organic material in compost provides food for microorganisms which in turn provide nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to your soil in a natural and healthy way. Backyard composting not only helps your garden become more sustainable, but also, as mentioned earlier, has a significant impact on our planet.
It is pretty much common knowledge that our landfills are overflowing and we simply do not have space for new sites. However with composting we are able to use organic material that may have otherwise gone to waste and contributed to the pollution of our planet. Because our landfills are overflowing, there is now a need to develop new methods to get rid of waste. Of course not everything can be composted, but by composting your organic waste you are taking steps to improve our environment. So now that we’ve gone over the importance of composting, you may be wondering how to start your own backyard compost.
1- How do I start composting in my backyard?
Composting is a natural process, but with these easy steps you will learn how to speed the composting process in your own backyard! You’ll learn the materials to use for composting, how to compost, and some tips for using your compost effectively. You won’t need that many materials to start your composting journey. All you really need is a backyard with a space to start your pile. I’d recommend putting it near your garden for easy access. You may also want to use a bin for compost, however this is not required, but can be useful. According to ecocycle.org, you’ll want a bin that is about one cubic yard, as size is appropriate for the proper temperature. Now you’ll learn how to compost your material. You’ll start by mixing material such as twigs or dry leaves with materials like grass clippings or food waste such as egg shells or coffee grounds. You’ll need to provide water and air to your compost so water it often to keep it moist and turn it to break down the materials. Your compost should be like soil when you’re ready to use it.
2- What can you not put in the backyard compost?
Not everything can be composted. Materials such as bones, meat, eggs, any dairy products, and pet waste should not be added to your compost.Though egg shells are perfectly fine.
Example what to not put:
MEAT & MILK PRODUCTS. While meat and dairy products are perfectly biodegradable, they can attract unwanted pests to your backyard or green bin. ...
HIGHLY ACIDIC FOODS
OILS & GREASY FOOD
PET & HUMAN WASTE
Example what to put:
Any non-animal food scraps: fruits, vegetables, peelings, bread, cereal, coffee grounds and filters, tea leaves and tea bags (preferably minus the staples)
Pet bedding from herbivores ONLY — rabbits, hamsters, etc.
Dry cat or dog food
Dust from sweeping and vacuuming
Old herbs and spices
Shredded newspaper, receipts, paper bags, etc (any non-glossy paper)
Tissues, paper toweling, and cotton balls — unless soaked with bacon fat, kerosene, or makeup
Cardboard, egg cartons, toilet rolls
Old string & twine made of natural fabrics
Hair, human or otherwise
Old, dry pasta
Pits from mangos, avocados, peaches, plums, etc.
Toothpicks, wine corks
3- Does compost smell bad?
Your compost should not have an odor if you are taking care of it properly and following the information listed. If you want some more compost tips and information then I would recommend going to https://www.ecocycle.org/backyard-composting.
4- How long does it take to compost?
Three months to two years depending on the size of your compost pile, what you put in it, and how you tend to it, this process can take three months to two years. How to Jumpstart Your Compost?
5- How to use your compost in my backyard?
Now that your compost is ready, here’s how to use it in your garden. According to ecocycle.org, for lawns “sprinkle 1/8 to 1/4 inch of fine compost evenly across the grass to improve the lawn's ability to use fertilizers more efficiently.” This allows you to use fertilizer less often. They also recommend trying to use natural fertilizers instead of ones with chemicals, if you do still use fertilizer.
If you’re using it for your flowers and vegetables, you’ll need to “work in half an inch of mature compost into the top six inches of the soil,” as stated on ecocycle.org.
For potted plants, work your compost into the soil mix, however make sure the soil mix you use doesn’t already contain compost.
For your indoor plants, you’ll want to add compost to the top of the soil, which allows it to give nutrients to the plant as it breaks down over time. Now that you know how to make your own backyard compost let’s go over some other things you'll need to know.
6- Do you prefer professional composting?
Some local businesses offer professional composting at their sites for their local communities. If you live in the Greater Cincinnati Area check out these local compost businesses:
https://www.local-compost.com/ (Northern Kentucky)
https://www.betterbincompost.com (Columbia Tusculum, Hyde Park, Mount Lookout, Oakley, Over-the-Rhine, East Walnut Hills, Wyoming)
https://compostnow.org/compost-services/ (Other Areas)
I truly hope reading this has inspired you to take on your own backyard compost and that you feel confident with the information given. Remember by composting you’re not only helping your garden and plants, but you’re also doing your part to help the environment by getting rid of waste that would normally just go to a landfill in an easy and environmentally friendly way!