When I was growing up, one of our neighbors composted. The overripe smell of the piles remains with me, but also the memory of the beautiful fruits and vegetables she grew. When it was suggested to me as a means of enriching our terrible soil, I decided to give it a try.
I went into composting without any preconceptions, and I found it very easy.
Composting is good on two fronts: it reuses food scraps that would otherwise end up not decomposing in our anaerobic landfills, and it provides soil with nutrients in a similar fashion to what it would receive “in the wild”. So it basically gives you great flowers, grass, and edibles while reducing your garbage load. Both reasons will save you money!
Composting Methods: Pile vs. Worm
There are two basic methods of composting: pile and worm. Worm composting uses worms to turn garbage into usable stuff very quickly. Pile composting relies on heat and water to decompose organic material.
Both methods will give you the same end product, but worms work faster. However, many people can’t get past the “ick” factor on worms and use the pile method. (I personally use the pile method, but that is simply because I didn’t know about the worms when I started this enterprise)
How Composting Works
A more detailed article on aerobic composting can be found over at HowStuffWorks, but it basically boils down to having organic waste interact with water and air to interact with microorganisms from the soil. The compost produces heat and the finished compost is a thick and rich humus, similar to what you would see on a forest floor.
Worm composting uses worms to eat the organic waste, which is then turned into worm
Easy Methods to Compost
No matter what method you choose, there are easily obtainable gadgets to help you make compost.
3 Compost Bin Method
This method, has three areas outside in various stages of composting. The idea is that you fill one up, then let it “cook” (decompose) while using the next, and so on. These bins are easily constructable out of chicken wire and wood, and can also be bought ( EZCB E-Z Compost Bin). The difficulty with this method is that it is exposed to the elements and critters, and must be monitored to maintain good composting conditions. These bins will generally require manual turning with either a garden fork or a Compost Aerator.
A pyramid composter is a black bin that does vertical composting (like the Home and Garden Innovations CMP02 Pyramid Composter). You continue to add material to the top of the bin, and pull out the finished product from the bottom via a door. The pyramid composter does not require turning, and solves the problem of heat, moisture and critters.
Turning Composting Devices
These composting bins, like the Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler Bin, take all the work out of turning. You rotate the entire compost bin to stir it up. It produces finished product much quicker than the standard bin method.
A worm bin is generally smaller than a compost pile. It is a container full of worms has multiple layers that the worms work their way through ( 4 Tray Green Gusanito Worm Factory). The compost “tea” that gets produced is very good for houseplants as well.
Photo by Mickki