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How to start composting



Composting is a way to reducing your food waste while producing a rich fertilizer for your garden. What used to be a fringe exercise is now mainstream, with many garbage collection sites in the US and the UK now composting food leftovers.

Whether you live in a city or far out in the country, you can include the composting in your Recycling Routine . Here are some basics for getting started.

More information: These are the gardening tips that you must know .

What is composting?

In essence, composting helps cut up food waste and other organic products into a substance that can be used to alter the composition of the soil so that it is more nutritious to plants. To start the composting process, certain bacterial activators are added to the organic material to generate heat. The heat decomposes the organic material faster than in nature.

Which elements can be composted?

When it grows, it can be composted in principle. Here are some examples:

  • Fruit and vegetable peels
  • Melon barks
  • Partly eaten apples
  • Coffee grounds
  • Grass cuttings
  • Leaves
  • Beans and legumes

Some gardeners add fish, meat, bones and dairy products to their compost. That's fine, unless you have a problem with rodents or raccoons. These foods produce a strong odor that the scavengers can not resist.

External composting

There are two types of composting: outside and inside. Let's first look at the composting from the outside.

Some gardeners prefer a compost heap in their garden. That's exactly how it sounds. It's a bunch of grass clippings, food bits, sticks and dead leaves.

The pile is started in a sunny area with a layer of twigs and sticks on the ground to aid the airflow. Then moist organic material (such as leftovers or grass clippings) is layered with dry material such as leaves, twigs and sawdust. This dry material is crucial because you do not want the compost to be too moist, causing unpleasant odors and attracting pests.

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A layer of dry material such as foliage is important for composting outdoors.


Alina Bradford / CNET

This type of composting requires some work, as the pile needs to be turned every week (or twice) with a pitchfork or a compost aerator. The advantage is that it is basically free. The only items you need to buy are a turning tool and a compost activator.

A lighter outdoor solution is a compost cup, such as the Yimby or the Miracle-Gro large two-chamber compost tumbler. Both are rotating barrels where you throw your garden and food leftovers and then spin five to six times every two to three days. Spinning mixes the compost to promote rapid and uniform decomposition.

The same rules apply to wet and dry material; You need to keep the compost well balanced for it to go right. When selecting an outdoor system, also consider a unit with many ventilation holes to release gases that are produced by the decomposition of food. A closed container can explode if too much gas pressure builds up.

Composting of interiors

  whirlatoraphotos-8

High-tech composters, such as Zera's whirlpools, can turn food scraps into compost in just a few hours.


Chris Monroe / CNET

Composting in the interior is almost child's play with high-tech compost containers such as the Zera or the Food Cycler Platinum. With this type of device, only the food remains and the compost activator are involved. The unit uses heat and pressure to turn the waste into fertilizer, usually within 3 to 24 hours. Some units can produce about 2 pounds of fertilizer for 8 pounds of food waste.

Okay, I mined compost, now what?

Once the food is broken down, it will almost look like woody filth. You can sprinkle small amounts in indoor plants or large quantities in a garden plot. You can also sprinkle it on your lawn or trees to make them healthier.

Once you've finished using your finished compost, you can continue the process by adding food scraps and garden waste to your stack or compost bin. A well-maintained compost heap can give you compost for years.

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