What is composting? Composting is an intuitive at-home process used to break down organic waste products like vegetable peels, leftover fruit, yard trimmings, paper, and more, into nutritious finished compost to use as a soil amendment for your garden or potted plants.
Composting is the process by which the waste breaks down, but what is compost? Compost is the final product after the decay of the items you add to your composting system. Finished compost is an organic and natural fertilizer and usually looks like crumbly brown or black powder that resembles soil.
There are several benefits of composting beyond generating free fertilizer. Composting is a greener way to handle kitchen scraps and food waste. Food items traditionally sent to landfills find a new purpose to nourish plants when added to your compost bin.
What Is Compost?
As interest in green living and organic gardening grows, many people ask, what is composting? Composting is an intelligent way to dispose of the organic waste produced in your household by converting it to finished compost.
A composting system is straightforward and budget-friendly to construct and may be as simple as a compost heap in your yard. Fruit and vegetable scraps, leftover cooked grains, eggshells, paper, yard trimming, grass clipping, and more are all suitable for composting.
Disposing of yard waste like leaf litter, grass clippings, and branches is less work when you have a compost pile and is great compost for beginners. Explore composting and create a system in your home to take advantage of this intelligent process.
Explore at-home composting and learn the difference between a compost pile vs bin, and how to set up your own system to recycle organic materials and make finished compost for your garden and houseplants.
What Is Composting?
What is a compost pile, and how does it work? Composting takes organic waste like food scraps or grass clippings and turns them into a valuable soil amendment known as finished compost through decomposition.
Organic matter is mixed and divided into a particular brown to green compost ratio under certain conditions to facilitate its breakdown. The nutrients from the waste are recycled into the finished compost and later used to enrich low-quality or sandy soil to feed plants.
The goal of composting is to create optimal conditions for decay. During the composting process, microorganisms assist in the breakdown of organic matter using aerobic respiration, and the heat generated by rotting materials speeds up the process.
Composting is a natural way to recycle kitchen scraps, yard trimmings, paper products, and more. Green waste and brown material combine in a 1:3 ratio in a compost pile, bin, or tumbler for best results. Vermicomposting is a unique composting technique using redworms to compost waste rapidly.
Green Organic Material for the Composting Process
The green group of compostables is high in nitrogen. This group is sometimes referred to as wet items.
Food scraps like old fruit and vegetable peels and a small amount of cooked grains are suitable for inclusion in your green materials when you are starting a kitchen compost container or a pile in the backyard or to compost at home inside. The ways to compost bread as greens include stale bread pieces and moldy ones.
Any green and moist yard waste, not brown and shriveled, falls under the green umbrella, including grass clippings.
When plant matter is first cut, it’s still considered green, though after it dries out and browns, it becomes part of the carbon-rich brown group.
Brown Organic Matter for the Compost Bin
Where green matter is nitrogen-rich and wet, brown composting materials are high in carbon and dry. Some green materials become brown materials after they dry out. For example, fresh grass clipping or green leaf litter are part of the green ration until they dry and become brown matter.
Composting is a less labor-intensive way to eliminate brown yard waste. Cut large items like branches into smaller pieces to facilitate decay. You can also compost shredded paper as long as it doesn’t have too much ink or is not glossy like you find in magazines.
Miscellaneous Compost Material
Items like manure and eggshells are good additions to the compost pile as they are rich in nutrients, yet they don’t fall under the green or brown categories as they aren’t carbon or nitrogen-rich. Add these items in small quantities to avoid upsetting the balance of your compost piles. Put cow manure in your compost or dung from any animal that doesn’t eat meat.
Items to Avoid in the Compost Bin
While weeds are plant matter and are technically compostable when green or dried, they are best burned or disposed of elsewhere. Weeds are among the things you should not compost. The heat generated by composting may not be enough to properly destroy weeds, resulting in weed seeds spreading through your garden when you apply the finished compost.
Methods of Composting at Home
If you’ve ever wondered what is a compost bin, you’re not alone. Composting may be conducted on a large or a small scale using several different set-ups. Different composting methods have differing advantages. Selecting a composting technique is personal to every home and family’s space, preferences, and how much organic waste they’d like to compost.
If you generate lots of compostable waste and hope to have an abundance of finished compost, you’ll require a larger space for composting. In contrast, smaller households or those producing less waste require little room for their composting system.
What is a compost tumbler? A compost tumbler is a vessel with a handle for easy turning to aerate the compost. The way to start a compost barrel or tumbler is to choose the correct size for the location you want to put it. Tumblers come in several sizes, making them ideal for a small indoor space or a large outdoor one.
A compost heap or pile requires an outdoor space and is easy to make in any size, as does a compost bin. A worm bin composter or vermicomposter is a perfect solution for people living in an apartment or those with no outdoor areas.
A vermicomposting system is fully enclosed and decomposes organic matter faster; it processes a reasonable amount of waste and takes up a small space.
The Benefits of Composting
The United States Composting Council says making and using compost helps to foster healthy soil, cleaner water and air, a greener climate, and a more sustainable community. Composting is good for plants as composting soil offers nutrients without using dangerous chemical fertilizers. Using peat moss or compost for lawns provides necessary aeration without harmful components.
Though carbon dioxide is released during the composting process, it does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Finished compost improves the soil structure and poses no threat to pollinators and beneficial insects.
Compost is a rich natural resource for gardeners and farmers. Recycling kitchen scraps, yard trimmings, and other waste at home through composting rather than sending them to landfill helps the planet and produces a useful product.
What is compost? Compost is a soil amendment made through the decomposition and decay of organic waste materials. The benefits of composting are vast. Sending organic materials to compost instead of landfills is better for the environment and allows them to be reused rather than discarded.
Finished compost is full of vital nutrients and improves the soil structure around your plants to help them retain water and resist pests and diseases. Plants fed with compost grow larger, remain healthier, and produce more fruit, vegetables, or flowers than those without feeding.
If you have organic waste at home, learn how to compost to save time and money and enjoy free natural fertilizer.
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