Composting provides benefits to the home gardener, such as encouraging higher crop yields and reducing pests. But commercially prepared compost can be expensive, with costs as much as $100 per ton as of 2011. (See References 1) Even people with limited space can make their own compost by using a compost tumbler in lieu of a compost pile in the backyard. Although they readily turn refuse into compost, tumblers ...
The key to a healthy lawn is nutrient-rich soil, and compost makes a highly effective soil amendment. Rich in nutrients and light in texture, it provides the food your grass needs. Best of all, you can make your own compost using scraps from your kitchen and yard. A well-managed compost bin will produce finished compost in a few months, but it isn't as simple as tossing scraps in a pile. You'll need to use a good ...
Composting is the gardener’s way to use nature’s decay of organic ingredients. It isn’t hard to do and a pile of compost will yield a rich, dark substance that improves garden soil and nurtures plants. Composting also keeps household garbage and yard waste out of landfills. It is the perfect recycling activity to help you grow fruits, vegetables, flowers and shrubs. Basic backyard composting is an ...
Although compost happens whether you turn your pile regularly or not, rotating your compost speeds up the process and lets you check for and correct imbalances in moisture. Turning your compost also breaks up clumps and improves aeration, which speeds up the breakdown process (see References 1). How you turn your compost depends primarily on the type of composting unit you are using. The amount of effort you want to ...
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A successful compost pile begins with the ingredients. Though all organic materials eventually decompose, they don't all turn into a compost that's healthy for amending garden beds and potting soils. Compost requires carbon- and nitrogen-producing materials combined with enough water to keep it moist, but only certain organic materials should go into a compost pile or bin. (See References 1)
Composting yard waste and kitchen scraps provides the home gardener with two benefits: nutrient-rich compost for soil amendment and a reduction in the amount of waste sent to local landfills. Using compost instead of chemical fertilizers saves you money and lessens your impact on the environment. While you can achieve all the benefits of compost using traditional piles or bins, a compost tumbler speeds up the process and keeps your yard looking neat. A tumbler allows even urban gardeners to compost kitchen scraps in a small space and hide the compost from neighbors, who may object to a pile of decomposing scraps on the balcony.
To decompose, compost needs nitrogen, carbon, moisture and oxygen (see References 1). The proper balance of these ingredients creates an atmosphere that supports the growth of microorganisms, as well as insects and earthworms, which decompose the organic matter, turning it into nutrient-rich, fertilizing compost. Add carbon and nitrogen to the pile in the form of yard and kitchen waste. Rain and hand watering add the necessary moisture, and turning the pile with a shovel or pitchfork aerates the pile, adding oxygen.
Composting is a simple, easy, inexpensive and effective way to dispose of yard and kitchen waste. Suitable yard waste for composting includes grass, leaves, garden plants and wood chips. Beneficial kitchen scraps include fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grinds and crushed egg shells. In general, composting meat, dairy and oily foods is not recommended (see References 3). However, this rule has some exceptions.
Though not an essential step before transferring compost to garden beds or potted plants, sifting is an effective way to divide sticks, twigs, rocks and clumps of not-yet-decomposed organic matter from cured compost that is ready to use. Sifting also aerates the compost, encouraging further decomposition and healthy soil structure. Use sifted compost in garden soil, and finely sifted compost with seed-starting mixtures (see References 1).
Yard and food waste are organic, so it doesn't make sense to seal them up in a plastic garbage bag and toss them into a landfill to produce greenhouse gases like methane (see References 3, p 2). Instead, allow your organic waste to decompose naturally to produce a rich soil amendment that improves the nutrient capacity of the soil in your garden, reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides. Although composting can be done in a simple pile or pit, many people prefer to keep it contained in a bin designed to optimize moisture and airflow and repel pests.
Composting is both an earth-friendly method for disposing of certain yard and household waste products and a way to create rich organic material for gardening that retains nutrients and water crucial to healthy plant growth. Composting carries out part of the pervasive life cycle of growth and decay, converting the carbon from plant matter into energy for nurturing new growth. As such, composting done correctly represents the ultimate recycling process, facilitating renewal and reuse rather than waste. (See References 1)
Traditional composting methods require little intervention from the gardener, but can take up to a year to produce usable compost. The 14-day method produces compost quickly, but requires the gardener to intensively manage the compost. The 14-day method also eliminates many insects and weeds that can survive the longer, cooler composting method. A critical mass of compostable materials is required with the 14-day method. The size of the compost pile is important, as a small compost pile does not attain the heat required to compost quickly. (See References 1.)
Many U.S. municipalities offer curbside pickup of yard waste. Every season neighborhood streets are lined with hulking plastic bags of fallen branches, grass clippings and dried leaves. The ecological implications of this scenario are many. Plastic bags add to landfills. Disposable waste trucks burn an abundance of fuel making extra trips on scheduled yard cleanup days. Burning yard refuse in large quantities also affects pollution control systems. All the while, this so-called yard "waste" could be used to brighten flower beds, protect new plantings and cultivate soil.
For the gardener who doesn't want to wait months for a compost pile to decompose, a rotating barrel compost unit is a project well worth an afternoon of work. Rotating barrel units speed up the composting process, and although they require more labor and expense initially, you can expect finished compost from your turning barrel in two months or less. (See References 1, page 11)
After raking leaves in the fall, put them to good use with leaf composting. In the spring, the resulting mulch spread on the lawn will supply an insulating boundary between the soil and the air. Leaf compost contributes organic matter as it decomposes, adding nutrients to the soil. Use leaf compost instead of commercial mulches to save money and help the environment with natural soil additives.
Composting can do wonders for your garden by adding organic matter to your soil, but starting an outdoor compost pile isn't an option for every homeowner. You might not have the space, or you might not want to irritate the neighbor whose hammock sits on the other side of the fence from your proposed compost location. While you won't be able to undertake massive compost projects indoors, you can handle kitchen wastes and other small-scale compostables.
Most composting systems rely on the thermal mass of a large, above-ground compost pile to hold heat and support the growth of large numbers of aerobic bacteria that break down organic matter (see References 1). Underground pit or trench composting, on the other hand, is a "cold" composting method, which means that the bacterial activity is not high enough to generate significant heat in the composting material. For this reason, underground composting is a much slower method that may take up to a year to work. (See References 2.)
Like many natural processes, composting is an inexact science. Variables that determine the speed and efficiency of decomposition include compost contents, exposure to moisture and heat, microbial activity, aeration and composting methods. Determine the most effective combination of factors for your region and lifestyle by experimenting with these variables.
Home composting units come in all shapes and sizes, from sleek, space-age-looking tumblers to humble homemade wire-and-wood compost cages. When choosing a composting unit, you not only need to consider what you can bear looking at every day in the corner of your yard, but you also need to consider the amount of garbage --- and the amount of time and effort --- you expect to put into your compost.
A compost pile turns grass clippings, dead leaves, food waste and other organic materials into a rich soil amendment when the materials are mixed in the proper ratio and maintained correctly. The Utah State University Extension advises a moisture level between 40 and 65 percent to ensure rapid and thorough composting in your pile. Monitoring the moisture level by feel provides a sufficient gauge to determine the water needs of your pile for successful composting. (See References 2)
Yesterday's news provides a rich growing medium for your garden when it's recycled into compost. Newspaper breaks down inside a properly built compost pile and provides the carbon necessary for the decomposition process. Carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials heat up when combined. The heat speeds up the decomposition process so your pile produces compost quickly. Microbes within the pile further aid the composting process. (See References 1) Newspaper added in the right ratio provides some of the carbon necessary for a healthy compost pile.
Composting barrels are simple devices. They must be able to hold a good amount of compost, allow for aeration and drainage, and permit easy mixing. Anything that satisfies these requirements will work, but modifying a normal garbage can is probably the easiest, most straightforward method. A garbage-can compost bin makes it easy to maintain the proper moisture and oxygen levels for good composting, while also containing odors. The only problem is the size limit --- but you can always make a second bin if you fill up the first one. Properly maintained compost is ready two to four months after you fill the bin.
You can easily create compost with lawn clippings, leaves, food scraps and other natural materials. Composting turns these items into nutrient-rich organic material that benefits your yard by improving the fertility of the soil. You'll also save money on fertilizer and mulch. According the the U.S. EPA, food scraps and yard trimmings compose 20 to 30 percent of the municipal waste stream. Composting keeps these items out of landfills and returns them to the soil. Manage your compost pile or bin properly and it won't smell or attract pests. (See References 2)
Turning a compost heap is one of the most physically demanding aspects of making compost on a medium or large scale. Turning the pile introduces oxygen into the center of the compost, speeding decomposition (see References 1). Tumbling composters consist of a rotating drum with a handle on a raised frame. The drum has a hinged door for adding composting materials and water, and holes to let air in. By using a tumbling composter, you can turn the materials as often as you like without straining yourself (see References 2).
Toilet use accounts for nearly 30 percent of water use in the average American home. Replacing an older toilet with a new, water-saving toilet could conserve as much as 11 gallons of water per day. If all older toilets in the United States were replaced, it would save 2 billion gallons per day. (See References 1.)
Composting outside is a great way to reduce kitchen waste, except during the inactive wintry months. Worm composting is another option. Worms, such as the European nightcrawler, munch on scraps from the kitchen and expel nutrient-rich castings that enrich your garden. Set up your compost bin in the garage or basement to enjoy the high-quality compost that worms produce year round.
Composting keeps yard and food waste out of landfills while also creating an organic fertilizer you can use to enrich your garden soil. Composting is a process by which organic material decays into a nutrient-rich, soil-like material. There are many ways to compost, and though starting a compost pile may require some upfront labor if you choose to construct a bin, once your pile is going, you only have to maintain it to produce a steady source of beneficial compost materials.
Composting sends less trash to the curb and to the landfill, while producing a soil amendment that helps your garden thrive. Kitchen scraps, yard clippings and shredded paper can all go into the compost bin. Whether you should include fruits in your bin, particularly citrus fruits, depends on the type of composting that you do.
Ash from your fireplace or outdoor fire pit can be a useful amendment to your garden. In its raw state, ash can discourage insects living in the compost pile from migrating to the rest of your garden. It can also add lime and potassium to the soil. When used in compost, ash adds valuable nutrients without changing the pH of the soil. The exact nutrients depend on the type of wood that is burned. Layering wood ash into the compost pile also helps control odors and neutralizes the pH of the compost. (See References 1)
Apple cores, melon rinds and orange peels --- no matter how conscientious you are about reducing food waste, some of the fruit you eat inevitably ends up in the trash. Any cook knows that baking or cooking with fruit often results in large amounts of kitchen scraps. Giving fruit scraps a second life is important, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that food scraps made up 14.1 percent of municipal solid waste in 2009 (see References 2, page 6). You can put most fruits in your home compost bin as long as you add the scraps to existing compost with care. The properties of fruit waste may even help your compost heap decompose more efficiently.
Composting allows you to use ordinary household wastes, from food scraps to paper towels, to generate a soil amendment rich in organic matter that improves plant health. Composting, however, often calls to mind large heaps or specialized bins and tumblers tucked away in the corner of the yard, none of which apartment dwellers or homeowners with small yards can use. Two techniques allow you to compost indoors: standard composting in an indoor bin or vermicomposting, a technique that uses earthworms to generate compost.
Compost is an organic material generally comprised of decomposed yard and kitchen wastes. Prized for its ability to enrich soil, this fertile material can be easily and inexpensively made at home. Understanding how the composting process works helps you make, quickly and efficiently, your own version of "black gold."
Composting turns common organic yard and kitchen wastes into a productive organic fertilizer that enriches soil in gardens and cropland. While there are several variants of composting, the basics are simple and require an average of just several minutes per week after starting. The keys to effective composting are air, water and the right mix of ingredients to maintain a good biochemical balance in the compost pile.
Nearly twenty-eight percent of the municipal solid waste stream in the United States is made up of only two things: food waste and yard trimmings. Less than 3 percent of the food waste generated in homes and restaurants is recycled or composted. Throwing away food waste and yard trimmings does more than fill up landfills; it eventually converts to methane, a potent greenhouse gas. (See References 1) When composted, yard trimmings are a valuable mulch and fertilizer for your garden. Trash cans filled with food waste cause foul odors that attract insects and rodents. Composting these materials saves you money on waste removal and gardening or landscaping expenses.
Your lawn can't live on water alone --- turf grass needs rich soil with lots of nutrients to help it stay healthy and lush. You could pay a bundle for chemical fertilizers, or "go green" and feed your lawn using things you already have around the yard: grass clippings, leaves and other trimmings.
Confining your compost inside a container helps keep the pile from drying out, prevents scavengers from nabbing food scraps and makes turning and maintaining your compost easier. Barrel-type compost units come in two forms: stationary units that rest directly on the ground and rotating units that allow you to turn your compost in a matter of seconds. While the basics of composting remain the same no matter what type of composting unit you use, the nitty-gritty details that help you obtain compost quickly vary considerably depending on the type of unit you use.
Each year landscape trees and shrubs, grass and plants produce quantities of plant material that must be disposed of. Switching to compostable lawn and leaf bags cuts down on plastic in the landfill. Some cities, like Houston, are banning lawn and leaf material from landfills and banning the use of plastic bags for lawn material curb-side pickup.
Composting recycles materials like food scraps and yard waste that otherwise go into the trash. As demonstrated by the Cornell Waste Management Institute's "Composting in Schools" program, building a miniature composting project in a clear water or soda bottle allows you to observe the process (see References 1). This project is a valuable teaching tool in the home or classroom.
Composting serves dual purposes for the green gardener. In addition to providing a soil amendment rich in organic matter and nutrients needed to keep plants healthy, much of what you throw away as garbage can go into the compost heap, reducing your household waste. Compost is created when soil microbes break down large pieces of organic material into smaller particles.
Respiration refers to the metabolic process during which food molecules, oxygen and water generate the energy needed for a living organism to undertake life processes (see References 1). Living organisms such as bacteria and fungi carry out the breakdown process in a compost pile by consuming dead organic material as food (see References 2, page 20). These organisms require oxygen to carry out respiration and perform well (see References 3, page 4). Turning your compost adds oxygen and lets you assess conditions that might impede respiration.
Teaching kids about composting helps them understand how they can personally contribute to reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills each year. A classroom compost unit also serves to illustrate the essential role that decomposers play in the ecosystem in breaking down dead organic matter to release humus and nutrients into the soil (see References 1, pages 20-24).
Speed composting, also known as hot composting, turns yard waste and food scraps into mature, usable compost within about eight weeks. The process relies on achieving the aeration and high temperatures necessary for rapid decomposition. Speed composting is very similar to traditional, or passive, composting in that the gardener builds a pile of biodegradable materials and uses the resulting nutrient-rich amendment once it matures. The difference lies in the increased labor speed composting requires, as well in the extra care you must take to achieve proper aeration, moisture level and carbon-to-nitrogen ratios (see References 2).
Compost drums are a form of turning unit, a composting system that can produce finished compost faster than compost heaps and holding units. As an additional advantage, compost drums require minimal effort to use and allow gardeners with limited time or mobility to produce their own compost. Unlike compost heaps or holding units, for best results, you need to add all the ingredients to your compost drum at once. To achieve finished compost in the short time period promised by many compost drum manufacturers, you also need to pay close attention to the balance of ingredients. (See References 1, page 11)
Compost microorganisms need both carbon and nitrogen to survive. Carbon serves as a food source, while they use nitrogen to build proteins and reproduce. (See References 1, page 6) While you don't need to maintain a precise balance of carbon and nitrogen in your compost pile, providing adequate supplies of both will produce compost faster. However, you may occasionally end up with bulk amounts of carbon- or nitrogen-rich wastes. Gardeners use compost activators when composting large quantities of high-carbon materials.
With the average U.S. citizen generating 4.34 lbs. of garbage per day in 2009 (see References 1), compost appeals to many eco-conscious people because of its ability to reduce the amount of trash sent out to the landfill or incinerator each week. Pet owners, in particular, might want to reduce the amount of dog feces or cat litter they send to the curb. Although you can compost livestock manures, pet wastes probably should not be composted except by people experienced with the process (see References 4).
Composting is the process of turning your food and yard scraps into rich, fertile organic matter that feeds your garden. Compost literally consists of decaying matter and is therefore not always pleasant to deal with. If you're considering starting a compost pile inside or outside your home, weigh the facts and make a decision that will suit your lifestyle.
Making your own compost saves money and prevents usable waste from further burdening our landfills. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers composting an important component of integrated solid waste management, noting that backyard composting and grasscycling divert kitchen and yard waste (see References 4, page 7-1). Although the process can seem magical, composting is all about science -- with a variety of composting systems to choose from to meet your needs (see References 2).
Composting is a learning experience in sustainability your whole family can share. You don't need a fancy, rotating container or expensive tools; a compost pile in your yard and a shovel work just as well. Start small, encouraging children to stay involved along the way. In a few months, your lawn and garden can benefit from the resulting compost, and the environment benefits, too, with less material ending at a landfill.
Gardeners are often told that the best compost piles or bins contain a proper balance of certain materials, such as leaves and grass. They are also advised that the fastest way to obtain compost from these materials is to turn the pile frequently, keep it moist and provide adequate air pockets under and in the center of the pile. But even as they dutifully spade, water and add the right ingredients to their piles, gardeners may wonder why these steps work so well to turn "garbage" into the invaluable soil amendment known as compost.
Composting in the small spaces available to inner-city gardeners can be challenging --- but not impossible. Even if your garden is limited to a few patio planters, you can still turn materials otherwise destined for the landfill into free garden compost. Composting requires a mixture of nitrogen-rich materials, such as fruit rinds, vegetable peels, coffee grounds and chopped grass, with high-carbon ingredients, such as shredded paper, dried leaves and hay. If you're an apartment dweller, mix kitchen scraps and junk mail to achieve this balance, or ask suburban friends for their bagged leaves and grass.
Composting recycles nutrients back to the soil, benefiting plant growth. Plants in turn provide oxygen, edible parts and attractive floral displays. When plants decay, microbes go to work, using oxygen and feeding on nutrients in the plant. The composting cycle begins and ends with the formation of fertile compost that enriches your landscape.
Compost is a gardener's treasure, but producing a batch takes time. If you want to create compost more quickly, build a barrel-style tumbler. But, beware hyperbole that says a tumbler will yield finished, usable compost in two weeks --- Brook Elliott of Mother Earth News reports that it's more like 10 weeks from start to finish (see References 1, page 1). Still, compost barrel tumblers are a rodent-resistant, easy-to-use option for busy gardeners (see References 1, page 4). Once you procure a barrel, you can construct a compost tumbler in an afternoon.
For thousands of years, farmers and gardeners have used livestock manures, which are rich in nutrients, to grow large, lush plants. Composting these manures helps farmers manage manure volume, and the temperature generated as soil microorganisms break down the material kills potentially harmful pathogens and weed seeds (see References 1, pages 1-2). Although composting depletes some nutrients, composted manures remain valuable sources of fertilizer.
With a few very simple modifications, you can turn a normal garbage can into a composting bin. The garbage can will make it easy to keep your compost moist and well-mixed. It will also keep odors to a minimum. The only downside is the size limit. Still, it's easy enough to make a second bin if you need the space. Provided you maintain it properly, your compost should be ready two to four months after the bin is filled.
If you like to cook or grow your own vegetables, you may want a "greener" means of disposing of kitchen scraps than bagging and putting them out on trash day. One option is a compost heap, mixing the scraps with leaves and grass clippings. Another is a wormery, a shallow container kept indoors or in a sheltered outbuilding containing compost redworms (Eisenia fetida) and their bedding. Since the dawn of the environmental movement in the 1970s, research into the benefits of one versus the other has picked up.
For the gardener looking to become more eco-friendly, composting is a logical first step, since it reduces the amount of waste your household sends to the landfill (see References 4). Compost adds nutrients and improves your soil --- a key idea in organic agriculture (see References 1). As described by Barbara Pleasant in Mother Earth News, this natural process doesn't require any special equipment or take much effort to maintain (see References 3, page 1).
Composting instructions offered by extension service horticulturalists and government solid-waste agencies offer a litany of warnings against adding meat to a compost pile. But green-living types look at meat scraps no differently than anything else they want to reuse in a beneficial way. Inveterate tinkerers such as Mary Appelhof, a Michigan biologist and teacher who pioneered indoor worm composting, have bravely experimented with composting meat waste (see References 1). With caution and the patience for trial and error, you can compost meat at home.
In nature, composting is a slow process. Leaves on the forest floor or dead meadow grasses break down slowly, returning their nutrients back to the soil. Gardeners, however, often want to speed up the composting process in order to use their compost on their gardens. Getting compost fast depends on maintaining the right balance of ingredients, moisture and oxygen, as well as temperature (see References 1)
Turning trash into compost quickly requires turning the compost pile regularly, checking the moisture level and adding water and materials as needed. Rotating barrel or tumbling composters provides a solution for the gardener who wants to enjoy the soil-building and waste-reducing benefits of compost but doesn't have the time -- or the strong back -- for the amount of turning involved. Tumbling composters can trim the time you spend on your compost to mere minutes per week.
Natural compost suppresses disease in plants, eliminates the need for chemical-based fertilizers, rejuvenates soil and encourages higher crop yield. It also reduces the waste stream: yard trimmings and food residuals -- both important elements in compost -- account for 23 percent of the total waste produced in the U.S., according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. When composting, these elements take on the categories of browns and greens (See References 1)
The question of how long items take to compost resembles the proverbial question, "how long is a piece of string?" In other words, so many variables affect the length of time it takes for an individual item to break down into a fully decayed pile of matter that you'll only know the answer once the process is complete. Still, certain factors help predict if you are talking about weeks, months or years to obtain finished compost.
Large-scale composting efforts have generally taken two forms: centralized and decentralized. In centralized composting, organic materials such as food scraps, leaves and lawn cuttings are collected from many homes and businesses and composted at a large, mechanized composting plant. In decentralized composting, a larger number of small neighborhood or household sites are used to compost the material closer to where it was generated. (See References 1) Both methods have benefits and drawbacks.
When you first contemplate composting, you will find many choices of containers for producing and storing compost. Rotating barrels or compost tumblers make backyard composting easy. Although these units restrict the amount of compost you can make, they require little labor, produce finished compost quickly and prevent vermin from rummaging through your compost heap. If you want compost quickly and without a lot of work, give strong consideration to the rotating barrel unit.
Take a trip to your local garden center and you'll find sleek, plastic compost bins with a price to match. Whether you're on a budget, want to reuse some old materials taking up space in your garden shed or just like working with your hands, you can construct your own compost unit to meet the needs of your specific composting project.
Compost is a go-to solution for soil quality --- it lightens heavy soils, improves water retention in sandy soils and adds nutrients (see References 2). Instead of making the trip to the garden center, make your own compost at home simply by consolidating yard waste and kitchen scraps in one place. A little biweekly maintenance can produce enough fresh compost to cover your garden in a few months, and it's an organic, budget-friendly option (see References 1).
Throw an apple core in the street, and you're littering. Throw it in your compost pile, and you're doing a good deed. Composting your biodegradable scraps keeps trash out of the landfill, while creating a rich soil additive that you can use to fertilize your garden. Compost can increase your plant growth and yields, while helping suppress diseases and weeds (See References 1). Composting is a fairly simple process, but there are some important steps that can make your compost safer and more successful.
Millions of tons of compostable materials --- including cooked vegetables and other food wastes --- end up as waste in landfills instead of being converted into valuable nutrients. Composting cooked vegetables is slightly more complicated than composting yard waste like grass and leaves, but if managed properly, this type of food waste can indeed contribute to a rich soil amendment. (See References 2)
Composting fulfills multiple goals in establishing a sustainable household. As a soil amendment, it improves soil structure and provides small amounts of nutrients to your plants, which helps to produce homegrown vegetables without chemical fertilizers that can imperil local ecosystems. Furthermore, kitchen and yard wastes make up 20 to 30 percent of the average household's garbage, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, so composting can significantly reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill (see References 1, page 1). While composting is a relatively easy undertaking, a few simple strategies can further maximize your heap's green potential.
Vermicomposting, or composting using worms, is a practical way to turn kitchen scraps into organic fertilizer for houseplants, garden beds and lawns. If you live in an apartment or have limited outdoor space, worm composting is especially useful; it requires little room and can be done indoors. Redworms (Eisenia foetida) -- also known as red wigglers, brandling or manure worms -- are best for composting. Some garden supply stores sell redworms for composting, and they are also found in aged manure and compost heaps. (See References 1, 3)
Composting contributes to a sustainable lifestyle by converting your household's organic waste into a soil amendment that contributes nutrients to your garden soil while also improving its structure. More than half of the municipal solid waste collected in 2009 was compostable, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data (see References 1, page 4). Sending your lawn trimmings and old newspapers back to the soil keeps them off the curb, out of the waste stream and helps you live a more sustainable life.
Virtually all the official sources of information on how to compost at home tell you not to add dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese, ice cream or yogurt to a compost pile. The concern is that the dairy products rapidly decompose and emit odors that bring vermin scurrying to tear up your compost pile. Like all organic matter, dairy products can in fact be composted if you pay some attention to dealing with this odor. (See References 1, page 126)
If you're already conserving energy, reusing and recycling paper and purchasing green office products at work, the next big step can be composting on the job and using it to green the surrounding landscape. If your office property permits use of the grounds in this manner, you can compost on site, and if it doesn't, you can still pursue other avenues to keep the compostable food waste from going into the garbage. (See References 1)
Good compost requires three basic conditions: adequate moisture, sufficient oxygen to support aerobic decomposition and regular mixing. A properly modified garbage can helps retain moisture while allowing excess liquid to drain, makes for good aeration and encourages easy mixing via rolling the can back and forth on the ground. Properly maintained compost will be ready for use as fertilizer two to four months after the bin is filled.
Gardeners prize compost for its ability to foster long-term soil health. Regular applications of what some compost enthusiasts term "black gold" not only provides nutrients for your plants, it increases soil organic matter, which helps your soil hold water and nutrients, creating a friendly environment for beneficial soil microbes that help prevent plant diseases (see References 1, page 154). Using good materials and methods results in a good soil amendment for your garden.
Compost happens -- from farmers' fields to the forest floor, soil microbes break down dead plant and animal material into soil organic matter, all without fancy bins and tumblers or understanding the meaning of terms like carbon-nitrogen ratio. In nature, however, composting can be a slow process. Many gardeners want compost for their gardens quickly, in a matter of months or even weeks. For these gardeners, paying closer attention to what goes into the pile and how they handle the pile can make the process far more time-efficient. (See References 1)
Composting accelerates the natural process of decomposition, in which bacteria, fungi, earthworms, nematodes and other organisms break down organic matter into nutrient-rich soil. Backyard composting reduces waste from the kitchen and yard, putting food scraps and dried leaves to good use. The end result is garden-ready compost that enriches the soil habitat for beneficial organisms. Composting can be as involved as your schedule allows. By providing the basic ingredients to your compost pile, you will soon harvest fertile soil for your gardening activities.
Composting is one of the simplest ways for consumers to "go green." Municipal solid waste, commonly known as trash, contains about two-thirds organic, compostable materials, including food scraps, paper and paperboard, and yard trimmings (see References 5). Diverting usable waste for composting before it reaches the landfill has a positive effect on your household and the environment. Composting is easy to do at home and not only enriches your soil, but also reduces pollution and saves you money.
Composting is a cornerstone of organic gardening and agriculture, and it provides many environmental benefits. While most people start composting in order to provide an inexpensive source of organic matter for their gardens, the benefits of composting extend beyond the garden, motivating even those without a green thumb to take up this age-old agricultural practice.
Compost benefits your garden soil in many ways. It improves the soil structure, provides a slow-release source of nutrients and can protect against some soil-borne diseases (see References 1, page 20) Once you've gone through the months of preparing and maintaining the pile, however, you may wonder how you'll know when it's finished and the best way to go about harvesting it.
City-dwellers face a different set of challenges than rural and suburban residents when it comes to composting. If you live in an urban setting, you may not have a yard. That means you must design a compost system that you can keep indoors without causing a mess or foul odors. Vermicomposting, or using worms to compost garbage, is a good solution if you live in an apartment building or other urban home. It's scalable and self-contained, and it produces valuable compost in the form of worm castings (see References 1).
Out of simple ingredients -- food scraps, bedding and living red wiggler worms -- emerges an end result that gardeners call "black gold" for its benefits to flowering plants and vegetables. The red wigglers consume your kitchen waste and produce the crumbly, earthy-smelling manure or vermicompost, which resembles small coffee grounds. The contained system that the red wigglers, or Eisenia fetida, live in is called a wormery. It provides them with optimal conditions to survive and flourish. (See References 1)
Compost can form under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions, but anaerobic composting generally takes longer and produces several chemical compounds that smell bad and may cause a toxic reaction in plants when exposed to sunlight. To produce odorless, aerobic compost, it's necessary to provide a beneficial environment for the microscopic organisms that break down organic matter into humus. (See References 1)
Though it may seem mysterious, composting is just the simple process of decomposition. Composting gives new life to organic waste that would ordinarily be turned out to the landfill. Dubbed "black gold" by many in the gardening industry, compost is a nutrient-rich soil amendment. The process does not require a large space, nor does it need to occur in the garden or in a bin.
Composting keeps organic kitchen scraps out of the trash and the landfill, turning garbage into useful soil enrichment instead. You can compost most food waste, even indoors. Save scraps as you prepare meals by tossing them into a countertop collector. Hire some help and pay them in coffee grounds and old newspaper in a vermicomposting container. Make the equipment you need for no-smell, no-bugs, cheap, efficient composting with recyclables you have around the house, a trip to the hardware store and bait shop, and a modest investment of time.
For an avid gardener, there's no such thing as waste. Almost any form of natural material deserves consideration for the compost pile. Manure is an obvious candidate, given its traditional value as a fertilizer. Sheep, horse and cattle manure are widely available for purchase or barter. Manure from wild animals such as deer can also be used, though there are some potential risks to be aware of.
Different types of compost require different handling of certain feedstock, especially food scraps. The method for adding lemons and oranges to your compost pile depends on whether you have a cold compost, a hot compost or a vermicompost — a compost with worms (see References 1, 3). As with most food scrap compost additions, lemons and oranges are nitrogen sources to be balanced in equal part with carbon sources. Citrus fruits call for a bit of additional attention due to their acidity and potentially pest-attracting odors (see Reference 2).
Almost any form of organic material will eventually break down and release its nutrients into the soil, though some aren't suited for small-scale home composting. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency advises against incorporating meat or fish scraps in a home composter. (see Reference 1) However, shrimp peelings and other shells can be used, with a little extra effort.
Choosing the right cup of coffee could change the world. That may seem like a broad statement, but purchasing your coffee from a company with sustainable practices helps protect rain forest species, allows coffee growers to earn a fair wage and improves air and water quality (See Reference 1). However, deciphering which companies do the most for our planet while delivering a delicious cup of coffee can get confusing.
Pinto beans are one of the great staples of Mexican and Mexican-influenced cuisine. Their mellow flavor and delicate tan color provide a neutral base for the bold flavors and vivid colors of a variety of dishes. Like other plant-based foods, pinto beans also represent a potential source of compost for the garden. Beans compost readily, though they might require special treatment.
To an outsider's eyes, winter is a time when nothing happens in the garden. While it's true that gardens in most of the country are bedded down during the cold months, gardeners are seldom idle. Winter is when diligent gardeners maintain their tools, select seeds and prepare their potting areas for the coming spring. Composting doesn't stop in the winter, either, though it requires some preparation and extra work.
In most respects, having trees on your property is a pleasure. They provide shelter from the summer sun, which can help reduce your air-conditioning and lawn watering costs. They also provide a habitat for birds, squirrels and many other small creatures. However they also make work, dropping buds, blossoms, fruit, nuts and leaves or needles at various times of the year. Most of these can easily be composted, but pine needles present a few special challenges.
Chicken droppings, like most other forms of manure, make wonderful garden fertilizer. They're high in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, all valuable nutrients for most garden plants (see References 1). However, as anyone who has shoveled it will attest, fresh chicken manure is high in ammonia and can burn plants if it's applied without composting. To use chicken manure safely in your garden, it should be composted with a carbon-rich material such as straw.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or brewer's yeast, is the strain of yeast used in brewing beer. When it's mixed with sugar, water, hops and grains, yeast grows and ferments, producing the alcohol in beer. In a similar manner, gardeners mix brewer's yeast with sugar and warm water before adding the solution to the compost pile to accelerate the decomposition process. As the yeast grows and ferments within the organic matter, it breaks the cellulose down rapidly, producing an ideal environment for bacterial growth. The bacteria produces water, carbon dioxide and heat, warming the compost pile rapidly to 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Despite the myth that orange rinds don't decompose, citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruit are acceptable additions to the compost pile. (See References 2, 5) To speed the decomposition of orange rinds, use a blender to grind the thick pieces into a slurry before adding them to the pile. (See References 4)
In an effort to reduce the amount of organic waste heading to the landfill each week, many communities are eliminating residents’ ability to place yard waste such as grass clippings into the regular trash pickup. Composting grass clippings seems like an effective alternative for managing yard waste, but questions arise about whether this is a practical or safe solution, especially if the lawn has been fertilized.
Most kitchen scraps are appropriate additions to the compost pile. Fruits, vegetables and even the morning newspaper are good sources of the nitrogen and carbon necessary to break down into compost. In most cases, you can even compost fragrant foods, such as lemons and onions. However, these foods are not a good option for vermicomposting.
Having too much compost is a problem many gardeners would like to have. However, it is possible to have a quantity of leftover compost remaining in your bin at the end of the season. The end of the season might also bring a quantity of used compost from window boxes, planters and the potting shed. There are ways to make good use of both leftover and "lightly-used" compost in your garden.
Composting is a natural process at its core. All plant-based materials decompose back into the soil when left to their own devices -- a compost pile or bin simply provides favorable conditions for this to happen. Through the growing season from spring to fall, plenty of nitrogen-rich materials are available to compost. These include food scraps from your kitchen as well as grass clippings and other green, leafy materials from your yard. To compost these effectively, you must complement them with large quantities of "brown" carbon-rich materials such as dead leaves, straw or sawdust.
Composting is a valuable gardening technique, but it's more than that. Choosing to compost kitchen waste and other organic materials can keep them out of landfills, a crucial environmental benefit. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, kitchen scraps account for 27 percent of municipal solid waste, and organics in landfills are a potent source of greenhouse gases (see References 1). In the absence of a garden or backyard, even apartment dwellers can help reduce solid waste by composting on their balcony.
Gypsum-filled drywall, often referred to by brand names such as Sheetrock and Gyproc, is a standard building material used in almost all new construction. According to California's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (see References 1), approximately 12 percent of new drywall used in construction is wasted. Since paper can be composted and gypsum is a widely used soil amendment, some environmentally-conscious consumers and municipalities have experimented with composting waste drywall.
Most plant-based materials can be composted, either industrially or in a backyard composter. However, some materials have characteristics that require special handling. This includes most kinds of food scraps, which are more prone than yard waste to create odors and attract pests. Fruit peelings are an excellent example. They can be composted outdoors in a traditional pile or bin or indoors in a worm bin, but it's important to respect their special requirements.
Turning kitchen scraps and yard waste into compost is a natural step for avid gardeners. Not only is it ecologically responsible, it creates a steady supply of natural fertilizer for the garden. However, not all gardeners have the space for the large mound of decomposing vegetation that is a traditional compost pile. For gardeners with smaller spaces, a gravity fed or tumbler-style composter can be more appropriate.
Left undisturbed, plant-based materials naturally decompose and return their nutrients to the soil. Composting is nothing more than a way to organize that process, giving individual gardeners and householders a way to turn their yard and household waste into useful fertilizer. Some take a laid-back approach, simply building a pile of waste and letting nature take its course. Others frequently turn and aerate their materials, creating a fast-working, high temperature compost (see References 1). Whichever method you choose, you can compost year-round if you adapt to seasonal requirements. Composting is easy in summer compared to winter, for example, but it still requires attention.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, organic material of various types accounts for two-thirds of the country's municipal solid waste (see References 1). Most of these organic materials could be composted, either on a large-scale industrial basis or in individual backyards. Home composting is a simple process that can have a large environmental impact, but some people are reluctant to take that step. If your parents fall into that group, these strategies might persuade them to compost.
Composting is a domesticated version of the decomposition process that takes place in nature. Plant materials break down over time, releasing nutrients into the soil and providing organic material or humus that keeps soil light and airy. The process slows in winter, but it never completely stops. For home composters, the goal in winter is to keep your bin as warm and sheltered as possible so the beneficial bacteria in your pile can remain active and keep working.
Composting is a fundamentally simple process. Make a pile of organic materials, and over time it breaks down and forms a rich source of humus for your garden. If you've mixed the organic materials or "feedstocks" in the correct proportions, an unattended pile will yield usable compost in about a year. However, if you are prepared to invest a little more of your time and labor, thermal composting shortens the composting process dramatically.
Traditionally gardeners made compost in loose piles or contained the materials loosely inside some form of walls or fence to make a neater appearance. While these are simple and effective options, they're not suited for every situation. The traditional arrangements leave your compost open to insect and rodent pests, they take up a substantial amount of space and in some neighborhoods they might be considered an eyesore. Modern vertical composting bins, made from weatherproof plastic or recycled plastics, are often a more convenient choice.
As a natural product, cotton is completely biodegradable, which means that it breaks down when put into a composting pile or bin. Approximately 60 percent of all harvested cotton fiber is used to produce yarns and threads, which in turn are used in the manufacture of fabrics for clothing and indoor or outdoor furnishings. (See Reference 1.) Because of cotton's biodegradable properties, all-cotton clothing can also be recycled and used in the manufacture of useful materials, such as household insulation.
The use of compost rather than commercial fertilizers is one of the foundational techniques used in organic gardening. Compost helps produce healthy, biologically active soil that keeps plants vigorous and pest-free without herbicides and pesticides (see Reference 1, page 19-22; Reference 2). However, keeping compost free from herbicide and pesticide residues isn't easy for organic gardeners; it requires a degree of vigilance and dedication to ensure chemical-free compost.
For a compost pile to work effectively, the gardener must attend to a small number of important factors. The pile should have a good balance of high-carbon "brown" matter such as dead leaves and high-nitrogen "green" ingredients such as grass clippings. The pile should be loose enough for its bacteria to receive oxygen and moist enough for the bacteria to thrive (see References 1, page 4). However, if you live in a rainy area, your pile might occasionally become too wet. This makes it difficult for oxygen to penetrate the pile and can lead to unpleasant odors. Drying your compost will fix the problem (see References 2, page 44).
A conventional compost pile is a large, shaggy heap of organic matter that decomposes over a period of one to two years. However, it is possible to create finished compost in a much shorter period by aerating it regularly (see References 1, page 4). Traditionally this is done by turning the compost with a garden fork, but it's much easier to use a spinning or tumbling compost bin. These are designed to be rotated, mixing and aerating the compost as they turn (see References 2, page 60). Commercial models can be costly, but it's easy to make one from a surplus 55-gallon barrel or similarly sized trash can.
For home composters with an outdoor bin, emptied coffee cans with their tight-fitting lids make an excellent place to temporarily store food scraps before taking them outside. However, for those without an outdoor composting bin, the coffee cans themselves can serve as indoor miniature composters. They're too small for conventional composting, but they can be used for indoor worm-bin composting, or vermicomposting.
Composting isn't a difficult or challenging activity. In the natural world, all organic materials break down on their own, given time. Composting just speeds this natural process. A conventional compost pile yields usable compost in a year or so. "Hot" compost piles take only a few weeks, but the compost has to be processed in batches (see References 1). An actively managed continuous composting system will provide a steady supply of compost throughout the growing season. Gardeners can purchase a commercial continuous composting unit, or construct their own multistage composter.
There are four factors you need to balance in order to have your compost decompose as it should. First of all, you need the proper mix of nitrogen-rich "green" ingredients, such as grass clippings and food scraps, and carbon-rich "brown" ingredients, such as dead leaves or straw. But just as importantly, you need the right amounts of moisture and oxygen, which the beneficial bacteria that turn these materials into compost require to do their work. Food scraps and other green feedstocks contain moisture, or you can easily sprinkle the pile with water. Aerating the pile requires a bit more effort, and involves either turning it regularly, or improvising a way to aerate the pile without turning it (see References 1).
Compost improves soil in many ways. By adding loose, crumbly organic matter, it helps sandy soils retain water and clay soils drain. It loosens heavy, tightly compacted earth and creates a biologically active soil that contributes to overall plant health. However, most gardeners think of compost simply as a form of inexpensive fertilizer. Compost improves fertility, but it doesn't add nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in the concentration of commercial fertilizers.
Composting, the transformation of plants and animal matter into fertile soil, is a process that occurred in nature long before humans discovered agriculture or even walked the Earth. Scientists studying the contents of soils from Stone Age Scotland have found evidence that ancient farmers there used decaying organic matter to feed crops. Historians note that the early Asian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures also practiced organic methods for improving soil fertility.
Soil, or "plain ol' dirt," is such a familiar presence that it's seldom given much thought by nonspecialists. In truth, topsoil is an intricately complex ecosystem populated by huge numbers of bacteria, fungi, invertebrates and insects (see References 1). Composting is a powerful way to enrich the soil, because along with nutrients, it provides organic matter filled with beneficial microorganisms (see References 1). Cedar chips and other wood wastes are useful in compost because they provide slow-decomposing material that stimulates long-term microbiological populations (see References 2, page 110).
Eco-friendly trends come and go, but reserving biodegradable kitchen scraps in a convenient countertop receptacle is a popular lifestyle habit with staying power. In addition to curbing the volume of solid municipal waste that a household personally generates, maintaining a compost jar also helps reduce one’s overall carbon footprint (see References 1). Furthermore, incorporating the resulting organic material into flowerbeds and vegetable gardens yields high-impact, nutrient-rich results at minimal personal expense, paving the way for consistent green thumb successes that neighbors will admire, talk about and emulate.
After establishing your compost heap, knowing when to spread that compost on your garden can be challenging. Large pieces of organic material that haven’t composted completely continue to decompose in the garden, temporarily robbing plants of nutrients. If compost hasn’t “cooked” long enough, plant diseases and pathogens may still be active and attack healthy plants or spread to vegetables you want to harvest. Inspect your pile regularly, and watch the calendar to determine when to use your compost.
Individual consumers can take several steps to reduce their environmental impact, from turning down the thermostat to driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle. One of the most powerful steps is composting. Turning yard waste, paper and food scraps into compost means more than creating a useful garden fertilizer. It could potentially divert a huge percentage of municipal solid waste from the nation's landfills.
Composting yard and kitchen waste is a powerful way to reduce your household's environmental impact. According to 2010 figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, food wastes account for almost 14 percent of total municipal solid waste (see References 1) and produce significant amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Those with a backyard can easily take up composting. It's more challenging for apartment or condominium dwellers, but it's not impossible. If your condominium association permits composting, you can use a compact bin to process your food waste.
A compost pile might seem like a simple thing from the outside, just a shaggy stack of decaying vegetation. However, inside that stack is a staggeringly diverse environment that plays host to hundreds of thousands of organisms. These range in size from microscopic bacteria and fungi to large beetles and earthworms (see References 1, page 5). Among the most prolific of these creatures is a family of rudimentary microscopic worms called nematodes. Although some nematodes are pesky garden parasites, the majority are considered beneficial (see References 2, page 5).
Save money and time in the backyard by composting organic waste and by making a few simple changes in your landscaping. Creating compost piles saves on fertilizer costs, and using alternative methods for maintaining your yard saves on basic utilities like power and water. Grasscycling and natural landscaping are just a couple of changes you can make to conserve resources and save yourself time and money on yard care.
In a well-made compost pile, the various ingredients or feedstocks break down into a rich, dark soil with a pleasantly mild, earthy aroma. However, piles will often develop unpleasant smells if they aren't properly maintained. Smelly compost has a handful of common causes, and all of them are easily addressed.
One of the challenges in composting is to maintain a suitable level of moisture in the pile. In dry climates, that often means covering the pile with a tarp or plastic sheet to inhibit evaporation. However, in rainy climates evaporation is necessary to prevent excess moisture in the pile, which can slow decomposition and cause odor problems. Composting felt, also known as composting fleece, is one solution to this dilemma. It's a felt-like synthetic material designed to repel rainwater, but that allows the pile to "breathe" and regulate its internal moisture like an uncovered pile when it's not raining. (See Reference 1)
Fusarium dry rot or potato rot affects potatoes in storage as well as newly planted in the ground. According to a potato disease bulletin published by the Department of Plant Pathology at Michigan State University, this highly contagious phytopathogen is responsible for up to 25 percent of potato crop losses and “more than 60 percent of tubers can be infected in storage.” (see Reference 1) Take care to prevent spreading Fusarium dry rot from crop to crop.
Compost does some of the same work that fertilizer does, at a reduced cost. In addition, organic matter contains nutrients that are sometimes missing in synthetic fertilizers. Composts release nutrients into the soil more slowly than synthetic mixtures do. The slow release is perfect for grapes because they have low nitrogen needs. Vineyards do need fertilizers from time to time, but even then, adding compost helps the soil use the fertilizer more efficiently and to hold on to the nutrients longer. (See References 1).
Composting is a natural way of turning organic materials into a valuable soil amendment. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, composting requires three basic ingredients. Dead leaves and small twigs are known as "brown" ingredients. Grass clippings, as well as fruit and vegetable scraps, are called "green" ingredients. Combine brown ingredients, green ingredients and water to form nutrient-rich compost over a matter of months. Microorganisms such as earthworms, snails, fungi, and insects help the process along (see References 6).
Adding micronutrients to soil or compost greatly enhances crop yields and helps keep vegetable and flower gardens beautiful and lush (see Reference 1). Though there are many micronutrient-rich fertilizers available for purchase, you can easily find all the micronutrients your plants need -- including manganese, boron, copper, iron, chlorine, molybdenum, and zinc -- by using degradable, organic materials you already have in your kitchen or yard (see Reference 5).
The term "biodegradable" has come to have specific meaning within the scientific and environmental communities, and it helps point consumers to products that have a much smaller environmental footprint. While biodegradable materials are indeed more expensive than non-biodegradable materials, the long-term ramifications of not using them -- including environmental pollution and massive landfill crowding -- help put the cost into perspective.
Maintaining a green, healthy lawn is a lot of work, especially if you're determined to minimize your use of environmentally harmful practices. That means abandoning herbicides to kill weeds, fungicides to kill moss and quick-dissolving fertilizers to fuel grass growth. It also means building a more absorbent soil to reduce your dependence on watering and minimize storm water runoff. Intelligent use of compost and mulch can help achieve all of these goals.
Small-scale composting of food scraps can be accomplished inside the home, especially if you do not have yard space for a large bin or pile. The key to keeping a tabletop compost bin from smelling is the right balance of ingredients. Any compost works best when equal parts of "green," nitrogen-rich ingredients, like food scraps and green leaves, are balanced with "brown," carbon-loaded ingredients, such as brown leaves, paper and sawdust (See Reference 1, page 3).
Biodegradable plates are typically made from natural starches blended with a low-density polyethylene plastic. Their marketing has been controversial due to lack of clarity in the definition of biodegradable and misinformation regarding material disposal. Scientifically, any material can be considered biodegradable if biological processes can eventually break it down into carbon dioxide and water. Biodegradation processes may include exposure to ultraviolet light, so material called "biodegradable" may not decompose in a compost heap. (See Reference 1, page 1.)
Primitive composting involves age-old ways of rotting organic materials and reusing them to enrich soil. These methods existed before the advent of temperature-controlled, scientifically tested composting in the early 20th century. The creation of leaf mold has changed little since early humankind first observed the benefits of letting leaves rot in piles. Other primitive techniques, such as composting human manure and urine, pose solutions for contemporary sanitation and soil-fertility problems in struggling nations.
Heat is a byproduct of the natural process of biodegradation in a compost pile (see Reference 1, page 8). If the pile is sizable and healthy enough, the heat created can be enough to warm water. Maintaining a one-to-one balance of carbon and nitrogen in a compost pile can produce free garden fertilizer and reduce waste sent to landfills. The extra measure of using heat extracted from compost-warmed water holds the potential benefit of reducing energy usage.
Mini composting containers are used nationwide in classrooms, on balconies and tiny back porches, under kitchen sinks and in employee lounges. Every little bit counts toward improving the environment when averting recyclable garbage from landfills. Mini composting turns organic waste -- such as kitchen scraps and shredded paper -- into a loamy soil enrichment for houseplants as well as school, community and container gardens. The process demonstrates "hot" and "cold" composting and encourages urban gardening.
When you decide to compost in a barrel, it's important to protect the contents from clever scavenging animals -- such as raccoons, chipmunks and rodents -- that have proven resourceful in getting into trash cans and recycling bins where the lids are not firmly secured. At the same time, you will want easy access to the contents of your barrel. The solution is an easy-to-install hatch covering system that only humans can open and close.