Spreetail Blog

4 Things to Know About Composting Before You Start

What’s Composting and How to Do It Right

by Maria Pontiero
Apr 22, 2019

Compost is a mixture of decayed organic matter, which is anything from a fallen twig to a lemon peel. When you mix a bunch of organic materials into a compost pile, they break down naturally into a nutrient rich fertilizer that helps your garden grow. 

Compost is a naturally occurring step in the process of decomposition. When leaves drop from trees or grass clippings are left on the lawn, the organic matter breaks down and decomposes. The rich, dark brown soil that results is called compost. But before your kitchen and garden scraps become rich, beautiful soil, there’s a few things you should know. Read more to know how composting can help you cut down waste and enrich your soil.  Composting Helps the Environment 

Compost can help reduce the number of fertilizer applications, conserve water, and decrease the amount of waste entering landfills. When organic matter like vegetable peels goes into your trash and then to the landfill, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Composting helps minimize methane emissions as well as reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, which can be damaging to our planet. 

You Can Compost Anywhere 

Whether it’s your apartment balcony or next to your garden, anywhere outside is the perfect spot for your compost. Depending on where you pick, the more direct sunlight your compost gets the faster the soil will develop and the sooner you can use it. If you’re worried about a slight smell, its best if you choose a closed container. This container will sit comfortably on your porch, near your shed, or anywhere not in reach of children or animals.  

Composting Isn’t Difficult 

Your compost should consist of a healthy mix of waste from your kitchen and garden. The best way to make sure your compost is healthy is by making sure you have a good mix of green and brown waste. Green materials include scraps from fruits and vegetables, and brown materials consist of dry leaves and newspapers. 

In order to make sure your compost breaks down into usable soil, you’ll need to make sure you’re watering it regularly.This will also help with any odor. To avoid over or underwatering your compost, be sure your compost is moist, not soggy, but not dry. With the right mixture and proper watering your compost shouldn’t smell like anything but earthy dirt.  

Patience is Key 

It should take a few weeks for your scraps to turn into soil. Mix your compost mixture every week or 2 to make sure everything gets incorporated. If you notice your compost is beginning to smell, add more brown material. If you feel like your soil isn’t progressing as fast as you wanted, add more green material. Once your compost looks and smells like soil you can begin to use it. Use it in your herb garden or sprinkle it on top as a natural fertilizer.  

Ready to begin composting? Check out our What to Compost Guide for more info.  

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