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How To Make Nutrient-Rich Compost From Kitchen Scraps

April 20, 2020
Written by Aaron

Making your own compost is a great way to save money and reduce your carbon footprint—plus, it saves you a trip to the store! With summer coming up, our vegetable plants and fast-growing annuals will be hungry for soil nutrients, and having the perfect organic fertilizer on hand makes it that much easier to have a healthy, thriving garden. Plus, it can cut your total household waste in half, so it’s twice as good for the environment! Less trash in our landfills means less methane gas gets released, which Mother Nature will surely appreciate. 

Want to start making your own compost at home using kitchen scraps that would otherwise end in the garbage? Once you get the hang of it, it’s really pretty simple, and the end product will be so worth it. Here are the basics of making compost, so your garden will be well-fed this year.

What Goes In A Compost Bin?

One of the things that people find the most confusing when beginning to compost is figuring out what goes in the bin, and what stays out. There are all sorts of different kitchen scraps that we can generate in a day, but some of them can contaminate the compost bin and introduce harmful bacteria instead of the good kind. Having a little cheat sheet posted on the fridge will make it easier for you to navigate the do’s and don’ts of composting, so we compiled this list for you to use as a reference. 

Things You Can Always Compost

- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Eggshells
- Dye-free cardboard
- Coffee grounds
- Grass clippings
- Leaves and stems (unless they show signs of disease)
- Straw
- Pine needles
- Untreated paper
- Cotton and wool
- Sawdust and untreated woodchips

Things You Can Compost In Smaller Amounts

- Citrus fruit peels
- Herbivore manure (ex: rabbits, birds, horses)
- Printed cardboard
- Teabags
- Black and white newspaper
- Hair and pet fur

Things That Shouldn’t Go In the Compost

- Dairy
- Meat
- Bones
- Metal
- Chemically-treated wood
- Diseased plants
- Plastic
- Weeds
- Oils and fats
- Diapers
- Carnivore animal droppings (no dog or cat waste!)

If there’s anything you want to toss in the bin but aren’t entirely sure about, go online and do a quick Google search as to whether or not the item is compostable.

The Different Types Of Compost Bins

There are three different types of compost bins you can use at home: aerobic, anaerobic, and vermicomposting bins. Each one breaks down waste a little differently, and there are a few pros and cons, so we’ve listed out the basics of each type so that you can choose accordingly.

Aerobic Compost Bins: These bins have a crank that helps to turn the inner contents, helping to aerate the waste so it breaks down faster. While they’re a little more expensive, they’re neater and more compact than other composters, so you can place them pretty much anywhere in the yard.   

Anaerobic Compost Bins: A cheaper, more basic alternative to the aerobic bin, the anaerobic bin is pretty much just a lidded bin with no turn crank. You simply toss your scraps in and let it break down over time. It’s a slower, and somewhat stinkier process, but they’re pretty cost-effective, and you can even find online tutorials on how to build your own using materials you may already have at home. It’s a good idea to add an even ratio of dry leaves (save that fall leaf litter!) and household waste to keep odours to a minimum. Use a stick or shovel to mix up the decomposing matter every month or so, to speed up decomposition and prevent methane from building up in the container.

Vermicomposting Bins: Now, this one might seem a little weird if you’re squeamish around bugs, but hear us out: vermicomposting is a super effective way to turn trash into treasure. Vermicomposting bins are full of tiny worms that quickly break down the scraps and release them into a lower compartment in the bin, so you can retrieve your compost without having to touch the worms. The resulting compost is super nutrient-rich and easy to spread through the soil.

 

Composting is great for your garden, great for the environment, and great for your wallet too. Remember, if you need any supplies to help you get started, feel free to check out our brand new online store, and we can arrange curbside pickup for your order!

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