Well, Mr. GGC was back for 1 post, and just like that he needs another break. Preface: he’s okay, thank goodness. On Friday, he was involved in a car accident (passenger) – everyone made it out okay, except for the car. He has some whiplash and possibly a small concussion, so no more writing for him for a few days at least. Mamma mia! Life certainly is a crazy ride.

But back to the purpose of this post – reducing waste and keeping your garden healthy through composting. Now, I know what you are probably thinking: composting? That’s a lot of work. That’s gross. I don’t wanna…Though making compost takes some patience, it is actually a simple process that just makes sense! Why throw your vegetable and plant scraps away when you can use them to help your garden grow?

What is composting?

The simple dictionary definition of compost is: decayed organic material used as plant fertilizer. The process looks something like this…

Photo credit: birdsiview56 via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

The organic material comes from plant clippings, grass clippings, wood chips, vegetable scraps and/or paper products that are controlled and contained in a composting bin. Some air flow and moisture is required for the successful breakdown of the material overtime, due in part to the natural build up of heat. The final product is a rich, soil-like fertilizer that can be applied to the top of your garden soil or tilled and dispersed throughout.

When properly decayed, compost is dark in color and releases an earthy odor. It may take between 2 to 9 months for the materials to break down completely, depending on the condition of the scraps used. Other compost piles only take 2 to 5 weeks.

What scraps should I use?

It may seem like you can compost just about anything, but there are some Do’s and Don’ts to the composting process.

DO compost green products:

  • Leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Flower stems (chop up)
  • Flower petals (from healthy plants)
  • Vegetable/fruit peels
  • Young weeds
  • Twigs/hedge clippings (chop up)

DO compost brown products:

  • Shredded paper (newspaper, receipts, paper bags)
  • Cardboard/egg cartons/toilet paper rolls (rip up)
  • Sawdust
  • Nut shells/egg shells
  • Drier lint

DO NOT compost the following products:

  • Raspberry/Blackberry brambles (if not dead, they will take root in the compost bin!)
  • Big branches/twigs
  • Pet droppings
  • Animal products

How do I do it?

First, you will need a composting container. You can purchase these, or create your own using a wooden box or large garbage can. If you are placing your compost pile outside, make sure you put it in a dry, shaded area. Some moisture is required, however you do not want your pile to get too much rain or sun.

Photo credit: vigilant20 (דָרוּך) via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Make sure that all of your compost materials are chopped up or shredded. You should alternate layers of browns (twigs, dead leaves, straw etc.) and greens (grass, vegetable/fruit scraps etc.), beginning with the browns as your first layer (bed).

To keep pesky fruit flies at bay, sprinkle grass clippings on top of any vegetable and fruit scraps that you throw into the pile. As long as you tend to your compost bin, you should not experience any problems with rodents or insects. Just like a garden, you must care for your compost! Your organic humus should be ready in 2-5 weeks.

Why should I do it?

Composting is a relatively simple way to nourish your garden beds. Perhaps more importantly, compost is an excellent substitute for chemical-based fertilizers and reduces methane emissions, lessening your carbon footprint (which is always the goal)! So instead of throwing all of those scraps away — sending them off to already overflowing landfills — take a few minutes to stash them in your yard, on your balcony, or even in your kitchen in a small container and watch as your waste turns to beautiful, rich plant food!

Photo credit: Bjava via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

We hope that you will try this and tell us about your experiences in the comments section! As we learn more about this process by doing, we will update our posts and let you all know how it turns out! Goodness knows our garden can use some love!

love you greenies,

Mrs. & Mrs. GGC

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