Updated: Jul 31, 2021
Composting is a great way to add organic matter to your garden, and also prevents you from wasting food.
What is composting?
Composting is recycling waste and other organic matter to be put back into mother earth, feeding the land and your garden. When you compost, you create the perfect environment for fungus and bacteria to decompose faster.
There are many different ways to compost. Bokashi, open air, direct...what goes in your compost depends on the method you use. In bokashi composting, you can add meat, bones and even liquids. But for now, let's focus on a simpler way to compost by using a bin. Whether it be bottomless or closed.
So What Goes Into Compost?
A compost needs a ratio of 3:1. Three parts brown, or carbon materials, and one part green materials which add nitrogen. Carbon is the energy source for microbes, and nitrogen provides microbes with protein. This combination helps break down the materials.
sticks and twigs
wood chips or saw dust
straw or hay
fruit and veggie scraps
If the ratio isn't correct, your compost won't do your plants any good. If you notice that your compost has a smell, that means that there is too much nitrogen, and you need to add more brown materials. Too much nitrogen can cause yellowing leaves and potentially kill your plants. If you notice your compost is not breaking down properly, or it's not heating up, then you need to add more green materials.
It is important to make sure that your compost has enough moisture and air flow. You want tour compost bin to moist but not wet. You should be able to squeeze a handful without water dripping.
What about worms?
If you have a bottomless compost bin, not need to worry, the worms will come and help break down your compost and worm castings which is great for your plants. If your compost bin is closed on the bottom, your you have a tumbler, you can add red wigglers, NOT earthworms. See why here.
How do you know when it's ready to use?
Your compost is ready to use when it is dark in color and you are not able to recognize any of the material you've added. It should be broken down completely. Turning your compost at least once a week will help it break down faster.
Try composting to add a natural source of nutrients for your garden.