Every year when the weather warms up and I get back out in the yard to clean up the garden, I think to myself, this is the year I’m going to start a compost!
Composting is not only a great way to reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill every week, but a valuable tool to use in your backyard ecosystem as well.
While composting is relatively simple, it’s more than just piling up old food scraps into the corner of your yard. The most important thing I’ve learned? Where you place your compost is just as important as what you put into it!
Location, Location, Location!
Pick the proper spot for your compost bin or pile based on a variety of reasons. You’ll want your bin close to your garden to cut down as many steps as possible when you’re both applying the finished compost and adding garden clippings to the bin.
In warmer climates, the spot you choose should be a bit shady to help the compost break down more quickly. In cooler climates, you’ll want a little more sun as a warm compost will decompose faster.
Pick a spot you can reach easily with your hose! A dry compost takes longer to break down.
What your compost sits on is also key to creating a successful ecosystem. A compost pile on top of a driveway, concrete pad or even weed fabric can be cut off from valuable soil nutrients and organisms needed to break down natural materials from the ground up. Wood chips, newspaper or cardboard can be compost-friendly bases instead.
Also, don’t put your bin right up against a wooden fence, because the organic materials breaking down in your compost could also unintentionally damage your fencing!
Compost this, not that!
Composting is a bit of math, but it’s simple! The ideal compost has equal parts “green” waste, like fruits and veggies, and “brown” waste such as wood shavings, leaves and lawn clippings.. The brown materials are rich in carbon and feed the breakdown of the green materials, which supply nitrogen to your beautiful, burgeoning compost.
The last equation is oxygen + moisture = happy, earthy compost! Make sure your pile has room to breathe and is kept moist. Turn your soil over every few weeks. If it’s too dry, add more green material. If it’s too wet and smells like anything other than good old fashioned dirt, add more brown material.
One Last Thing...
Double check your city, county and HOA regulations before you begin setting up a compost in your yard. Different counties or local governments may have different restrictions or limitations on what (or how) you can compost.
If you’re looking for more ways to impact the environment, order a Toolaloo to keep your reusable grocery bags handy and organized for your next trip to the store! Responsibly made with post-consumer plastic, we’re available on Amazon and always open on Toolaloo.com.
Let’s make this the greenest summer yet, with more composting tips coming as the weather warms!
You can find a good guide to what you can and can't compost here.