Composting – Why Do It?
There are a lot of great reasons to compost. If you have a garden of any kind, composting creates nutrient rich, fertilizing soil that will help your plants thrive. It’s also great for the environment. You can compost about 25% of everything you would otherwise throw away, greatly reducing your carbon footprint.
Why wouldn’t you compost? Here are a few common misconceptions about composting:
It is too much work: On the contrary, once you establish a compost pile it actually takes very little work to keep things going.
Compost piles smell: If you’re doing it correctly they should smell like good soil and nothing else!
Composting – How to Do it?
Composting uses three simple elements:
- Browns – This includes materials such as dead leaves, branches, and twigs.
- Greens – This includes materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds.
- Water – Having the right amount of water, greens, and browns is important for compost development.
What to Compost:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Tea bags
- Nut shells
- Shredded newspaper
- Yard trimmings
- Grass clippings
- Hay and straw
- Wood chips
- Cotton and Wool Rags
- Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
- Hair and fur
- Fireplace ashes
How to build a compost pile:
- Start by clearing a 3’x3′ space.
- Build up a layer of brown stuff
- Add a layer of green stuff
- Moisten dry materials as they are added
- Keep alternating until the pile is 3′ high
- Turn the pile over every 2 weeks or so
- When the stuff at the bottom looks like crumbled chocolate cake, it’s ready!
- Remove the fully composted material, and stack everything else back up.
- Keep adding layers of green and brown as your accumulate more waste
There are a ton of different methods and theories for what works best in terms of containing your compost pile, from chicken wire to wood pallets. Go online and do a little research, and find a method that works for you!
You can also compost indoors using a special bin that is sold at most hardware stores. The process is the same. You just need to make sure to tend to the bin.
Whether indoors or outdoors, a properly-tended compost pile should not smell, or attract pests. It should actually smell like good soil, which is what it is!
Still Don’t Want to Compost?
If you’re just not interested in making your own compost, there are still things you can do to still reduce your impact on the environment. One of the best: Hire a composting service. That’s right, there are now composting companies that will come get your food and lawn waste for a minimal fee. If you’re looking for a service in Northern Virginia, check these guys out:
If you live in Falls Church, they have partnered with the City of Falls Church to offer a deeply discounted composting service for residents:
Composting is one of the best things you can do, as an individual, to reduce your impact on the environment.
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