How To: Compost


(photo courtesy of livegreenmom.com)

Many people do not compost because it may seem gross or that it would attract animals.

The truth is it is a little gross, BUT, as long as it is done properly it will NOT attract animals and WILL attract good bugs such as worms that will break down the compost quickly and can later be transferred to your own garden. Plus, in the end, it actually smells really good…like summer!

Here’s how to go about composting:
1. Establish an outside area where you can put your compost that will be out of the way but convenient to get to. At Capon Crossing, we just make a pile, but there are lots of options for compost bins or tumblers, or you could just make your own. (Think of it like an extra tall raised garden bed.)

2. Gather a pile of “brown,” or “high-carbon” substances by your pile, tumbler, or bin to add to the food scraps. This is VERY key: this is what makes the compost into usable soil and smothers the smell so that animals are not attracted to the rotting scraps. High-carbon substances include: dry leaves, dry grass clippings, ashes, pine needles, saw dust, straw, stems and twigs, shredded newspaper or cardboard, dry stalks (such as corn or other plants), etc.

3. Save your kitchen scraps and put them in your pile! Anything fresh and uncooked can be composted: think apple cores, carrot and potato peels…pretty much any fruit and vegetable substance or yard clipping. (Coffee grounds are especially great for compost! Just make sure you have compostable coffee filters.) When you put these “green” or “high-nitrogen” substances, cover them completely with the “brown” listed above.

4. If you keep your pile moist and aerated by occasionally turning it with a shovel or stick, you will have beautiful, rich soil in no time that can be spread over a garden bed or any house plants as a nutrient booster.

5. DO NOT ADD: meat, dairy, fats (such as cooking oils), processed papers (such as printer paper), pet droppings, or anything that has been treated with chemical.

We’ll be spreading our own compost on our gardens soon as more seeds are planted and plants are transplanted. Have your own compost tips or stories? Or questions? Leave a comment!

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