Many say that good soil is the foundation of a healthy, productive garden. But not many may know that composting plays a large role in maintaining the vitality of a garden’s soil. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Not only does making compost help keep materials – like food waste, which produces greenhouse gases – out of landfills, but it also adds nutrients to your soil that wouldn’t be found elsewhere.
The main benefits of composting include:
- Enriched soil
- Moisture control, which suppresses plant diseases and pests
- Reduced dependency on chemical fertilizers
- Increased production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that create nutrient-filled soil
- Reduced methane emissions from landfills, which lowers your carbon footprint
Fortunately, there are many different ways to make a compost pile, whether its created indoors or outdoors, and some tools are beneficial to the process, including pitchforks, square-point shovels, machetes and a water hose. Once your compost is established, make sure you mix or turn it regularly.
For backyard composting, pick a dry, shady spot to store your compost bin or pile. If you have to keep your compost indoors or in your garage, be sure to purchase a composting bin available at most hardware stores.
What to include in your compost pile:
- Browns – dead leaves
- Greens – vegetable and fruit waste and grass clippings
- Fireplace ashes
- Coffee grounds
What to avoid adding to your compost pile:
- Dairy products
- Fats, grease, lard or oils
- Yard trimmings laced with chemical pesticides
- Pet waste
- Coal or charcoal ash
- Meat or fish bones, and scraps
Whether it’s kept outdoors or indoors, remember to keep a close eye on your compost pile and keep track of what you throw in by mixing regularly. Once your pile is established, mix grass, green wasted, fruits and vegetables and bury the food waste under 10 inches of compost materials before adding to your garden’s soil. Happy composting!