This weekend, the kids and I are learning the benefits of composting and how to get started with composting.
This is a new project for us and I think it is something that is important for the kids to learn because it goes so well with us teaching them how to start their own garden and grow their own vegetables.
This year, I've been teaching the children how you can regrow herbs and vegetables from your leftover kitchen scraps. It's been a fun project for all of us and we've been looking forward to seeing how everything turns out.
So far, in our patio garden, we have green peppers, lettuce, green onions, lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet onions, squash, and strawberries. We also have oregano and a few other herbs so that we can use them for future recipes.
I plan to get more vegetables and herbs, it's just a matter of finding the space now. Luckily, I have a builder with us so it shouldn't be too hard to come up with something!
Download the free composting 101 cheat sheets below so you can save them!
Benefits of Composting At Home
Think of composting as recycling. When you compost material like yard waste and food waste, it turns into a rich soil that you can use to further your gardening. There are many different benefits to composting.
- Composting helps reduce waste. As a whole, people throw a lot of food and other items away. When we compost, we are reducing the amount of waste that ends up in the landfills and turning it into rich soil.
- It's great for gardens and yards. Compost produces rich organic soil that is great for gardens, plants, and yards. This helps reduce the use of chemicals you may need for your garden and gives you rich soil your plants will love.
- It saves you money. It's always good to save money and by making your own compost at home, you can save money on having to buy potting soil and other expensive nutrients.
Basics of Composting
In order to make your own compost, you need three basic materials or ingredients - brown material, green material, and water. These materials do not need to be purchased, this is where your grass clippings, food waste, and other discarded materials come in.
What Can You Compost?
- Grass clippings and dead leaves
- Twigs and branches
- Coffee grounds
- Vegetable and fruit scraps
- Paper (not the glossy kind)
- Hay or straw
- Wood chips
What NOT to Compost
- Animal Waste
- Dairy products
- Meat, fish, or bones
- Paper that has any kind of gloss on it
- Fat or grease
- Yard trimmings that are treated with chemicals
How To Get Started
Starting a compost isn't as hard as it may seem. While there are various compost bins you can purchase, you can start a compost bin with just about any container or even create a compost pile near your garden.
If you don't want to purchase a bin, you can recycle a trash bin or plastic tub and place a wire mesh over it to keep the animals out.
- Choose A Location - One of the most important things to decide is where to place your compost bin. Too much sun can dry everything out so a partly sunny to shady area works well. You will also want your bin near a water source.
- Start a layer which includes your "green items". These items are things like grass or fruits and vegetable scraps.
- Place a layer of "brown items" on top of the green. Brown items are things like sticks and dead leaves.
- Add a layer of dry soil on top.
- Add water as needed. You just want to keep the soil moist, not soggy, or overflowing with water. You can water it with a hose or let the rain do its job.
- Turn your compost once a week or every few weeks. You can do this with a shovel. This will help aerate the pile and add oxygen to it.
This is a really great video that explains more about getting started. I highly recommend watching it!
Free Composting 101 Printable Cheat Sheets!
Download the free composting cheat sheets that includes instructions, a list of items to compost, and what not to compost!