Composting at home is always a great idea. Not only is compost great for conditioning your soil and adding vital nutrients for your plants to use, you are also recycling your kitchen waste, reducing landfill waste in the meantime and being more environmentally friendly. You can also save yourself some money on pricey bags of compost in the future.
There are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to composting. Different composters have different requirements, so always make sure you check the instructions carefully before investing in one, but there are some universal truths that ply to every compost pile.
The biggest trick to a healthy compost pile is establishing a carbon/nitrogen ratio, but what does this mean?
All compost piles are built up of carbon-rich matter (like branches, twigs, leaves, bark, sawdust, paper and coffee grounds to name just a few) and nitrogen and protein-rich matter (manure, food scraps, grass clippings and kitchen waste).
The healthiest compost piles have more carbon matter than nitrogen matter and the best rule of thumb is to aim for one-third green and two-thirds brown material. Your brown material should be small enough to not take too long to decompose but bulky enough to allow increased airflow throughout the compost pile.
If your compost pile is giving off very strong odours or is decomposing slowly, this is probably a sign that there is too much nitrogen matter within the pile. A good composter knows to cover your nitrogen layer with carbon-rich material to keep the smell down and help the pile decompose quicker.
Some things you should avoid putting into your compost pile includes; meat, bones or fish scraps, perennial weeds or diseased plants, pet manures, black walnut leaves, large quantities of grass cuttings or sawdust.