Optional: Cover top of compost with a tarp to keep it moist. Your tip could appear in an upcoming episode. If it smells bad, it probably means it's not decomposing — maybe your pile might be too wet or you might need to readjust your ratios of greens and browns. Other things that may attract pests? 2. Ultimately you always want more browns than greens — again, gotta have the dry to sop up the wet. And it really is layering — browns then greens, browns then greens. Jeffrey Neal, the head of the Loop Closing composting business in Washington, D.C., is a big fan of worms. Add organic matter to the compost bin. Before you start piling on, recognize that there are two types of composting: cold and hot. If you do have some outdoor space, your compost bin doesn't have to be complicated. Julia Simon for NPR We'd love to hear from you. When you make the first chop of the butt of that asparagus, boom, it could go right in there.". You can use it like a piece of furniture. A properly managed compost bin will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad. And the feel! "It doesn't have to be, you know, all the things that you find online that are really cute little ceramic containers," says Diggs. (Here's some more info on how to use worms and Bokashi.). Your compost should be ready in two to five weeks. If you do not have space for an outdoor compost pile, you can compost materials indoors using a special type of bin, which you can buy at a local hardware store, gardening supplies store, or make yourself. Diggs says the browns are key because they allow water to flow, and air to flow, something called aeration. Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin. When you're layering, you want the dry browns on the bottom with the wet greens on the top. Diggs says when you start out you might be turning the compost once every seven to 10 days. 4. "Greens" are typically food scraps, like fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, or, if you have a yard, grass clippings. This usually takes anywhere between two months to two years. "If one hundred percent of it is water, then nothing is going on. Life Kit shares tips on how to turn your food scraps into rich soil through composting. Compost consists of 4 main components that work in unison to produce nutrient-rich material you can use around your home. * Check with your local composting or recycling coordinator to see if these organics are accepted by your community curbside or drop-off composting program. Life Kit shares tips on how to turn your food scraps into rich soil through composting. Add brown and green materials as they are collected, making sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded. To build your own composter, use a 32-gallon trash barrel and drill several 5/16-inch holes using the cordless drill on the cover of the garbage can and up and down the sides for aeration. That will make sure microorganisms can do their job. Leonard Diggs is the director of operations at the Pie Ranch Farm in Pescadero, California. There's a solution for your home food waste that doesn't involve landfills: Composting! Composting at home: Establishing your own basic compost pile Choose a site where you want to put up your compost pile. An official website of the United States government. How to Compost at Home. (Plus, keeping food out of landfills can help fight climate change.). Greens - This includes materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds. Cooked food, oily things, buttery things and bones. And maybe, as much as you're meal planning and reducing your food waste, there are certain things you're just not going to eat. Typically the more compost you have, the faster it will go. It helps to shred up the paper products before putting them in your pile. Microorganisms are the true heroes of this process, they do the heavy lifting of decomposition. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Water - Having the right amount of water, greens, and browns is important for compost development. He says you don't need a big container for "vermicomposting" — a 5 gallon box will do. If you're one of the millions of Americans now stuck at home because of the coronavirus, it might feel like you're cooking more than you've ever cooked in your entire life. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Cornell Waste Management Institute's Small Scale Composting, U.S. Department of Agriculture Backyard Composting Tip Sheet. Nature will help direct you as to whether or not you need more of either at any given time. When you've got that fluffy, earthy compost, put it in your garden, or in a plant on your windowsill. Encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material. Backyard Composting Like banana peels, or, if you're me, a frightening amount of pineapple tops. Remember to tend your pile and keep track of what you throw in. Start with fruits and veggies — the skin of a sweet potato, the top of your strawberry. hide caption. Over the course of a year or so, the material will decompose. The number of layers depends on your space and your amount of food scraps, but try to keep the layers to an inch or two. Learn how to create and maintain an indoor worm composting bin. (Of course, in the age of the coronavirus, make sure your community garden is open, and practice social distancing.). ), so you'll need to store them in a container so you can add them bit by bit. "Bad compost smells, well, bad," he says, "It's like what a smelly trash can or dumpster smells like ... Basically, it smells like a landfill.". If you want to break down your food scraps in your own apartment, there are still options. Whether you've got a small apartment or a big backyard, there are ways to compost your kitchen scraps in any space. The audio portion of this story was produced by Audrey Nguyen. We Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020, Worms Make Great Pets, And Other Reasons To Compost At Home, This Is A Good Time To Start A Garden. Or you can go bigger. Sometimes two to one. Contact Us to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem. A way that people ensure they’ve reached the entire pile is to move it into a new bin. Kidding!). Subscribe to our newsletter. Or you can donate to your local community garden — just be sure to text ahead! We don't want you to give up so here are some more resources below. When you're composting, your kitchen scraps should be part of a deliberate layering process to speed up decomposition. If you don't have a backyard and still want a traditional composting experience you can take your food scraps to a compost pile that you share with neighbors or at a community garden. These add nitrogen — a crucial element for microbial growth. Also, you can store the food scraps in a bag in your freezer or the back of the fridge. In the world of composting you're inevitably gonna hear about "the greens and browns" — the two main ingredients for your mix. Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs*, Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)*, Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides. An old trash bin, an old wooden chest — just work with what you have available. This episode is your starter for how to compost … "Browns" are more carbon rich — think egg cartons, newspapers, dried leaves, and pine needles. Helpful tools include pitchforks, square-point shovels or machetes, and water hoses with a spray head. Carbon-Rich “Brown” Materials: For this step, you gotta think about the space you're currently living in. You can also buy a bin online or Digg says, "You could just create the pile naked!" There are many different ways to make a compost pile; we have provided the following for general reference. Clear a patch of ground about 4′ by 4′. Follow these five simple steps to compost at home like a pro. Diggs says he loves smelling finished compost,"You know, it just smells so ... Oh, gosh. Of course composting takes patience — you might run into unexpected things. Those are compostable in industrial facilities, but they don't really work for home composting. He says you gotta ask yourself, "Do you attract rodents? Remember the fire analogy — you gotta make sure the air is flowing, that it's wet but not too soggy. You should also alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. You got this soggy, smelly pile," Diggs says, "So drainage makes a difference.". How fluffy it is!". Or sometimes a sour smell. Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint. "If it's hot, you could get there in two months pretty easy, " Diggs says, "If it's cold made, you could be there in six months.

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