May 202010

Composting for your backyard garden or for your indoor plants is a healthy and beneficial process for your plants and the environment. For those who want to start the fun and fruitful process of composting, you have to be sure to keep in mind the good stuff you want to put into your compost. If you’ve read my earlier article Blacklisted Items to Keep Out of Your Compost, then you should already be well aware that things like bones, meat, wood ash and pet waste can be very harmful to your compost and garden. This article will explain to you what you should include in your composting and how it’s beneficial to the overall process.

When you’re ready to begin composting, whether it’s in a compost bin, tumbler or even out in the open, be sure to include these excellent ingredients to make your ideal batch of compost. Food scraps are a great and easily accessible source of waste for composting mainly because every single household produces it almost daily. Scraps like fruit rinds, old vegetable leaves and stalks, and even coffee grounds make for excellent composting. Coffee grounds are especially rich in nitrogen and work as activators, generating heat and exciting microbes to keep the decomposing process moving. But remember, and I can’t emphasize this enough, never ever throw in any meat, dairy products, grease, oils and/or bones; these items will not compose properly or take too long to do so. They also smell bad and will attract rodents and other wildlife.

Animal manure is a great source rich in nitrogen that also works as an activator, which is always a bonus for your compost. The best stuff comes from grass eating animals like llamas, cows, chickens, sheep and rabbits. Never ever throw in any cat, dog or human waste into your compost because for one thing, that’s just disgusting! More importantly, pet and human manure carry all sorts of diseases, parasites and who knows what else, and you wouldn’t want that in your garden.

Leaves, grass clippings, dead plants and seedless weeds make for great composting ingredients. Leaves are especially great for composting because of their versatility; if they’re dry then they’ll release carbon and if they’re fresh they’ll release nitrogen in your compost. The same can be said about grass clippings. Weeds can be kind of tricky but as long as you carefully inspect that none of the weeds are ready to seed and are free of any pesticides or poison, you should be set. Other items like straw, hay, hair and even lint also make for good composting ingredients; talk about recycling!

Always keep in mind that as long as long as you include the aforementioned items and avoid the bad stuff, you’ll achieve the ideal black gold soil for your garden through this fun and organic process.

*Referenced from Home Composting Made Easy by C. Forrest McDowell, PhD and Tricia Clark-McDowell, 2002.

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Author: Vicki Duong
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Vicki Duong

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