Start a Compost Pile

These days, most everyone seems to be interested in “living green”. PaydayLoansCashAdvance offers a number of ways to foster green living, from making changes within the home to altering travel habits and patterns. One of the elements of successful green living at home is making a habit of recycling. Whether it’s paper, plastic or organic, recycling is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. While resources offered by some areas can vary in terms of paper and plastic pickup, nearly anyone can recycle organic material right in their own back yard — by creating a compost area.

Composting is something that farmers have been using to fertilize their soil for many centuries. Being more environmentally friendly includes giving back to the earth, and composting is one great way that most anyone can do this. Composting can help to replenish soil nutrients in only 5 to 10 years, a process that might take thousands of years to occur naturally depending upon conditions.

Even if you don’t have easy access to a back yard, creating your own compost bin will help keep you from contributing food waste to landfills unnecessarily. You can cordon off an area on a patio or near the garage as a designated compost area. It’s worth the effort, especially if you’re a gardener and can use the compost later as fertilizer. Here are six steps to composting success:

1. Do Your Homework

Before beginning your compost pile, especially if it is your first time, do some research so that you understand the process. Most importantly, you’ll learn that there needs to be an equal amount of brown and green ingredients, along with alternating layers of the organic materials. Brown ingredients can include twigs, branches, coffee grounds and dead leaves; green ingredients include things like grass clippings, vegetable waste and fruit peelings, stems and cores. Read up on composting and find out if there are any other specific considerations to be aware of in your geographic area.

2. Choosing Your Spot

There are a number of different ways you can create your own compost pile from scratch. Most prefer that it be outdoors, but it is possible to create one indoors by designating an area for a bin. If it must be indoors, a garage or shed is best. Properly made, it will not attract insects, rodents or other pests, and it may not even develop a strong odor. Backyard composts may require permission from your homeowner’s association if you live in a condo or depending upon the rules of your neighborhood. For indoor composting, use a large plastic bin with an available lid.

To start your outdoor or backyard compost pile, find a shady and dry spot that is near water source. Then chop, shred and break down any large objects you are planning to put into the pile. The more you break things down, the less time it will take for the compost pile to be ready for use. If possible, save up various green and brown materials ahead of time to maximize results with this process.

3. Layering Your Compost

After choosing your spot, begin with a six-inch layer of brown materials across the compost area. Then on top of that, add a three inch green layer of compost materials mixed with a portion of soil. Next, lightly mix the layer of green and brown materials together. Once this pile is liberally mixed put about a three inch layer of brown material on top of it. Add water until the pile is moist. Repeat this process as needed with your accumulated green and brown materials, with brown always on top.

4. Aerate Regularly

The majority of your prep work is now completed. All that is left for you to do is to move and turn the compost pile regularly using a pitchfork or a rake, every week or two. The turning and mixing process helps to combine air, moisture and dry material evenly throughout the compost pile. Be sure to move any dry materials from around the edges of the pile into the middle as they dry out over time.

5. What (and What Not) to Compost

You should know there are certain things that should really not be in a compost pile, even if they are technically organic. The EPA offers a list of these materials as well as the reasons why they should be omitted from your compost heap. The list includes:

  • Do Compost
  • Animal manure (but not pet waste)
  • Clean paper
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Cardboard rolls, brown paper bags, thin boxes
  • Paper towels
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Dryer lint, vacuum cleaner lint
  • Hair, fur trimmings
  • Cotton and wool rags
  • Egg shells (empty – no eggs)
  • Sawdust, wood chips, toothpicks, used matches
  • Fireplace ash
  • Fruit and vegetable waste
  • Grass trimmings
  • Yard waste, leaves, house plant debris, hay, straw
  • Shells from nuts
  • Seaweed (cleaned of saltwater)
  • Do NOT Compost:
  • Dairy products (odor problems, pests)
  • Meat, egg, fish, poultry waste (odor problems, pests)
  • Fats, lard, grease, oil (odor issues, pests)
  • Pet waste (dog/cat waste, cat litter) (can contain germs or parasites)
  • Yard waste or grass clippings treated with pesticides (contains harmful substances)
  • Insect-ridden or diseased plants (diseases and insects could spread)
  • Coal ash or charcoal ash (contains harmful substances)
  • Nut tree leaves and twigs (contains harmful substances) i.e. Black Walnut and Pecan
  • Cedar branches, shavings or twigs (contains harmful substances)

6. Enjoy the Results

Truth be told, making a compost pile is hard to mess up! If you follow these basic steps and guidelines, your compost pile will be ready in about one to four months, with indoor compost ready in as quickly as two to five weeks. Whether you create an indoor or an outdoor compost pile, you’ll save money on fertilizer and improve your greenery when you spread the rich compost mixture in your veggie garden, flower garden, under shrubbery and bushes or in your flower pots.

Creating a compost pile is a great way of living green and saving money on expensive compost from the store. It is also an excellent final destination for your fruit and veggie scraps, twigs, leaves and other yard waste. Why wait? Start composting today!

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