Sustainable Living – A Basic Guide To Composting

There is a great deal of organic waste that can be used to make compost. Small twigs, leaves, hedge and grass clippings, and other organic materials, including some kitchen waste, can all be used in composting, which is a very effective form of recycling. Material that has gone through the composting process ends up producing a wonderfully rich material that is filled with minerals and nutrients that are well suited to encouraging lush and healthy growth of new plants, as well as overall soil health and sustainability.

Pretty much any type of organic matter will eventually decompose with sufficient time and the right conditions. But, even with that said, you don’t want to throw any old organic materials on your compost pile. Some items should not be thrown into your compost pile. Meats, dairy foods, pet faeces, cooked foods and kitchen grease will end up attracting disease or pests and vermin, so these should not be used in your home composting efforts.

Good compost should include a mix of brown organic material and green organic material. The brown materials contribute carbon for the mixture, while the green materials bring in supplies of required nitrogen. The brown organic matter includes dead leaves, twigs, cardboard, paper and manure. The green material will be comprised of items such as grass clippings, hedge trimmings, coffee grounds, fruit rinds and vegetable waste. As much as possible, it is best to try to maintain a one to one ratio of brown material to green material to create the best final compost.

The composting process involves four different components that are required to create a mixture that will deliver the sought-after benefits. These four crucial components are organic matter (addressed above), correct moisture, sufficient oxygen and bacteria.

The proper moisture levels are important to a successful composting process. It is suggested that the compost pile should have about the same amount of moisture as a sponge that has been wrung out by hand. If the compost pile is too dry, then the decomposition slows down. You can simply add some water to the pile during dry weather periods or any time when a lot of brown material has been added to help keep the process moving along.

Should the compost become too wet, simply dig in and turn the pile to mix the materials and spread the moisture. You can also add some brown organic materials that are very dry to help balance things out.

Sufficient oxygen is also a key element that is necessary for decomposition. Oxygen supports the breakdown of the organic materials by the bacteria. Supplying oxygen to the compost pile is as simple as turning the compost so the materials at the outer edges of the pile are moved to the center. This also helps to control odors that can develop. The pile should be turned about every 2 weeks for optimal results.

It is the bacteria, and other types of microorganisms, that do the real work involved in the composting process. With the other needed elements in place, the bacteria can go to work breaking down the organic ingredients into the compost that will benefit the organic garden.

When the composting cycle has turned the organic waste matter into a muck that is rich in nutrients, you will be able to easily add it to your garden soil. While preparing your soil for a spring planting, simply cover the ground with about 3-4 inches of the compost and then till the soil to mix it in well. In no time you will begin to see a healthy and vibrant garden.

There are a number of different types of composters on the market to meet a number of needs and situations. Bins for composting can be built from materials that you already have in your backyard, or they can be purchased from garden supply stores, especially those that specialize in organic gardening.

The benefits of composting have been extensively studied. The results reveal physical, chemical, biological, and environmental benefits.

If you are interested in learning more about composting, consider joining www.EarthHuddle.com – a free online community focused on all areas of sustainable living, including composting, organic gardening, alternative energy, sustainable housing and natural food growing.

For more details, plus composting videos, composting articles, composting forum and a whole lot more, visit www.EarthHuddle.com

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