Thousands of tons of lawn clippings, kitchen scraps, and garden waste wind up in landfills every year. Placed in plastic bags, this waste rots into a slimy, wet mess. But what if it could be used to create more food? Or make our gardens beautiful? It can through composting.
- Through composting, gardeners can turn lawn clippings, food scraps, and other organic materials into a dark, rich substance that makes gardens grow better.
- Try composting yard materials in a corner of the yard or in a compost bin. Layer wet materials, like weeds, plants, and lawn clippings, with dry materials, like small twigs, bits of paper, and dead leaves.
- Spray the compost heap with a sprinkler occasionally to keep it moist. Stir it with a shovel or pitchfork once a week. Over time (usually 2 to 4 months), the materials will break down become compost.
- You can also compost kitchen scraps by adding them to the compost heap. Keep a small container under the kitchen sink for kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peels and pieces, lettuce, dry bread, and coffee grounds. Don’t put meat, bones, or dairy products in the container. Add these scraps to your outdoor compost heap or compost indoors.
- Try making a worm habitat or vermicomposter. Worms eat through materials in a composting box, making everything decompose even more quickly. Worm castings add rich nutrients to the soil.
Questions and Answers
Question: What if the compost heap starts to smell or doesn’t break down?
Answer: A smelly compost heap usually means that it’s too wet or something like meat, dairy products, or pet waste was added to it. Remove any inappropriate items. Add more dry materials, such as leaves and small paper scraps.
Stir it more frequently to allow air and oxygen to get into it. A compost heap that doesn’t break down is usually too dry. Add more wet plant materials like lawn clippings. Water the compost heap and stir it frequently.
Watch a video about starting a vermicomposter.