Getting compost together isn’t difficult, nor is managing it. There are just 5 easy steps to composting to get you on your way to all the black gold you could ever want!
Collect Your Green Material
Your kitchen scraps are known as “green” material. Simple enough, right? Grab yourself an old ice cream bucket, an old kitty litter bucket, or any bucket with a lid. Go to your local grocery store’s bakery and ask for an old icing bucket.
They will usually give them out for free so they don’t have to deal with the trash. Store it in an easy to remember space, like either on the counter next to the sink, or under the sink in the kitchen.
To use, simply add all your food scraps; egg shells, that bit of pasta, veggie peelings and used coffee grounds to the bucket.
Avoid adding meat or cheese, as they take a lot longer to decompose. Citrus peels should also NOT be added to the compost bucket for the same reason.
Use the peels to make your own natural cleaner with this recipe. Your grass clippings when you mow the lawn, recently pulled weeds from the garden are also “green” material.
Collect Your Brown Material
This would be shredded newspaper, shredded toilet paper tubes, wood chips, dry leaves, and straw. Instead of recycling that old newspaper, tear it into shreds and layer it on top of the green materials.
You will want to keep a ratio of 4 “browns” to every 1 “green” to keep the compost from smelling. If it starts to smell, you may need to add some more “brown” to the mix.
Have a place to empty the bucket when full
Having an outside compost area doesn’t require a lot of room, really. You can make a compost area out of old pallets, a large piece of chicken wire wrapped around 4 posts, or use a composting barrel.
Simply empty your bucket out there when it gets full. This may present a bit of challenge to those living in an apartment or without a place outside to put a large area. BUT, it can be done.
Keep the compost damp
You don’t want it overly wet, but keeping it damp will help attract worms and keep the compost decomposing. If you find that it seems “dry”, hose it down a bit.
Again, you don’t want to run the water all over, but just so that it’s damp. A nice, “gooshy” mess is what you are looking for. If it gets too dry, the worms will leave and find a more moist home.
Keep the compost turned
This is easy enough to do. For a large compost pile, simply take a pitch fork once a week or so and “turn” the pile, mixing the top down to the bottom as much as possible.
This keeps air going to it, and the decomposition going. The more air it gets, the hotter it will get, and the faster it will decompose.
If you have a small space, or don’t want to use a big pitchfork, a turning bin makes it easy to turn the compost and I have had great success getting good compost in as little as 3 weeks with it!
So, getting your black gold for your garden isn’t hard. Just grab a bucket and you are on your way!
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.