From composting indoors in garbage cans to maintaining haphazard outdoor heaps, different approaches to composting effectively turn organic wastes into a rich soil amendment. Some approaches, however, generate compost more quickly with less work. Composting in a bin, either purchased commercially or handmade, can prevent curious critters from accessing your food wastes and make maintaining a pile easier.
Vermicomposting, or worm composting, is an efficient way to turn kitchen scraps into rich nutrients for your veggie patch. Red worms and red wigglers are the champs at devouring everything from newspaper strips to crushed eggshells. (See References 1) The worm castings produced in a vermicomposter are odorless and almost effortless by-products of a simple recycling effort that you can set up under the sink.
You don't have to buy a compost bin to enjoy the benefits of homemade compost; you can build your own using a few household materials. When you've finished composting your yard clippings and table scraps, you can amend your flower bed, lawn and garden soils with the compost. If you decide to make your own compost bin, you'll have compost ready to use in about one to five months, according to the U.S. Environmental ...
Vermicomposting is the practice of employing redworms (Eisenia foetida) to process your food waste into compost (see References 2). It's a simple, low-cost way to make organic amendment for your garden and plants, and something you can manage in a small space, even indoors. Instead of buying a fancy model at the garden center, you can make a worm composter from a plain plastic bin.
More Articles on Compost Bins
A simple compost bin helps contain your backyard compost heap, making it look more attractive and keeping it safe from some pests. Place the bin in an easy-to-access but out-of-the-way area of your property; make sure your garden hose reaches the pile, as you may need to occasionally water the pile if it becomes too dry. The size of the compost bin should be proportional to the needs of your project. Some people build bins large enough to share compost with friends and family. This design works with wood pallets of any size; choose pallets made from oak or another hardwood for the best results.
A lightweight, portable compost bin contains decomposing landscape trimmings and kitchen scraps while affording the most flexibility in where to place your compost pile. This design is ideal for limited-space gardens and yards and can be camouflaged behind a tall shrub to avoid irritating sensitive neighbors. You can make this bottomless wire-and-wood compost bin quickly and inexpensively as a weekend project and get started cooking up healthy compost for your garden. (See References 1, 2)
Home composting is possible with or without a manufactured compost bin. If your budget is tight and you are not concerned with how long it takes for your compost to decompose, you can start a pile in your yard with little to no money. If you prefer an enclosed composting system, want to turn waste into compost in a short period of time or plan to compost indoors, a manufactured composting system may better suit your needs.
Composting provides you with a free soil amendment to improve both gardens and houseplants and, because raw ingredients include many items you throw into the trash, can reduce your household's weekly garbage output by up to 30 percent (see References 1). When considering keeping a heap of garbage in your backyard or inside your home, however, you might understandably question how to control pests and odors. Or, if you're anticipating the rewards of your first batch of compost, you might wonder how you can speed up the process.
Organic matter in a compost pile or bin is decomposed by millions of microorganisms. Worms are also efficient in the breakdown of organic matter. They eat yard and food waste and excrete castings (manure), which are a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer. Worms will often find their way to compost piles that are exposed to ground. The intentional introduction of worms to compost bins for the purpose of breaking down organic matter is called vermiculture (see References 1).
Composting utilizes the natural breakdown process of organic materials into soil to produce a soil amendment rich in organic matter (see References 4). As a natural process, composting doesn't require any special equipment to get started, and while you can purchase a costly composting unit, a sturdy plastic trashcan works equally well. You can use trashcans to set up indoor or outdoor compost bins.
Compost requires a few basic ingredients and conditions for decomposition to occur. A proper balance of carbonaceous materials, such as leaves, straw and sawdust and nitrogen-rich materials, such as kitchen scraps, grass and manure combined with adequate moisture and oxygen will help ensure rapid breakdown of organic matter. Turning compost provides essential oxygen to a pile. The frequency with which you should turn your compost depends upon the balance of the ingredients and the method by which you choose to compost. (See References 1)
Starting a small compost bin for household use reduces the amount of waste your family sends to the landfill each week. Although a compost pile is the easiest method of composting, using a compost bin will prevent rodents and other scavengers from digging in your compost in search of food. Choose a bin that's large enough to accommodate your family's food waste and yard clippings and has a sturdy lid to keep out pests.
Composting in enclosed bins is ideal for small yards and helps deter animals from digging through the deteriorating materials. Whether you buy a prefabricated unit or build your own, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends using a bin at least 3 feet square. Successful composting requires four essential nutrients: nitrogen, carbon, oxygen and moisture. Ingredients from your kitchen and yard add the nitrogen and carbon, turning the compost adds oxygen and moisture comes from adding water to the mix and natural decomposition. Composting requires some practice, but with regular mixing and attention, your compost will be finished in four to six weeks. (See References 1)
A compost bin is a healthy addition to the garden. Decomposition is a natural occurrence, but composting speeds the process by creating an environment suitable for bacteria and microorganisms. Bacteria, fungi, worms, nematodes and sow bugs are examples of decomposing organisms. In order to thrive, they need carbon, nitrogen, moisture and oxygen. Brown materials are rich in carbon and include fallen leaves, paper and small twigs. Green materials, such as grass clippings and food waste are high in nitrogen. (See References 2) Resulting compost is a nutrient-rich humus that provides sustenance to your plants. Once started, a compost bin is easy to maintain.
Composting is Mother Nature's recycling program, a process during which microorganisms found in the soil break down dead plant and animal matter, releasing nutrients and boosting levels of organic matter in the soil that plants need to grow. Compost serves as a soil amendment that improves the capability of your soil to hold ideal amounts of water, retain nutrients and allow easy penetration of growing plant roots. (See References 1 and References 2, page 154)
Pressure-treated lumber's resistance to rot and decay makes it a favorite for garden structures, such as raised beds and compost bins. Lumber treated with a fungicide and insecticide mix made of copper, chromium and arsenic was a common choice. As of December 31, 2003, however, an agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and lumber treatment facilities banned the sale of for residential use. New alternatives to CCA-treated wood that use formulations that fight decay, but without using arsenic, are now available for use in residential construction. (See References 2, page 1).
Wood compost containment bins keep compost confined during the decomposition process. When building a compost bin from wood, take a few minutes to choose the right material. Not all wood holds up well to the elements and some wood can even leach poisonous materials into your compost pile. Starting with the right materials saves time and trouble later.
No matter what the composition or how comfortable they may once have been, all pillows eventually come to the end of their lives as serviceable sleep aids. This need not spell their complete demise, however. With a few basic tools, some scrap cloth or other household odds and ends, and some ingenuity, you can repurpose old pillows into dozens of useful items and save space in the landfill at the same time.
Composting time is dependent upon the provision of a suitable environment for decomposition. Three main variables control the rate of this natural process: ingredients (carbon to nitrogen ratio), moisture and airflow (see Reference 1). Moisture content should be kept between 40 and 60 percent in any compost, but the container type used impacts the other two variables (see Reference 1). In comparing tumbler and bin containers, compost time differences are connected to aeration and feeding modes.
In 2010, 8.4 percent of all municipal solid waste created in America came from textiles. Had consumers repurposed those textiles instead of throwing them away, their move could have spared American landfills approximately 21 million tons of garbage. (See Reference 1) Onesies certainly end up in the trash quickly -- once they're too small to fit or too stained to be seen in public. However, you can do two things to repurpose a onesie and get more use out of it before adding it to the rag bag.
Concrete blocks are an inexpensive and versatile material for many home do-it-yourself projects. They're convenient to work with, since they're lightweight enough for most adults to lift easily and large enough to stack without needing mortar to hold them together. If you have a quantity of blocks left over from another project, or have the opportunity to acquire some used blocks from a demolition or renovation, they can be used to make a sturdy compost bin (see Reference 1, page 3).