NOTE: I’m testing backyard composting bin! Would love to hear your favorites and ones you think I should try. I’ll add my findings and the best composters to this post.
If you’re the kind of person concerned about helping the Earth, you’re probably already recycling. Recycling is a great way to be kind to the environment without changing up your routine. You just separate your trash, and you’re done. You can take it one step further than that though.
Composting is becoming popular as more people begin to garden. Fertilizer can get expensive, so composting allows you to make your own at home. It’s nature’s way of making sure that organic materials return to the soil to create nutrients for plants. It’s all part of the cycle of life. No matter where you live, there’s a way for you to participate too.
Before people begin composting, the top concern is always if they can even do it. It’s common to hear the words like “compost” and “fertilizer” without thinking about the word “manure.” Don’t worry — you don’t need to hoard manure to help your plants perk up. Composting can be done in a couple of different forms.
Think about all those times you’ve thrown away bad leftovers or dinner scraps. That food could have fed your plants too! Backyard composting is named for the mixture of grass, leaves, hay and table scraps that people throw together for composting. This version helps you minimize the number of garbage bags you go through and reduces the amount of landfill waste in your local area.
This kind of composting is done by leaving yard waste in a hole in the backyard and adding table scraps to it at the end of each day. As the pile in the ground decays, nutrients are automatically leaked into the soil around it.
This composting method is an excellent way to go if you’re thinking about planting any trees or bushes. Plant the tree or shrub in your compost hole, and it’ll grow just as happily as with store-bought fertilizer.
As with everything, backyard composting does come with its drawbacks. It will smell, of course, and you’ll need lots of table and yard scraps to fertilize the ground you want to cover. Depending on how many plants you want to help with composting, it may be cheaper to go with fertilizer and compost in the future. It all depends on your gardening plans.
Worm Composting or Vermicomposting
If you live in an apartment-type housing situation, composting might be a little too smelly if you don’t have a backyard. Worm composting is great option to consider! All it requires is a composting barrel with a lid or even a giant plastic container. As long as you have a lid, you’ll be set.
Deciding on a container can be difficult, which is why composting bins come in a variety of shapes and sizes. For someone just starting out, or anyone living in a small space, the best composting bin is easily the Compost Bin by Geobin. It’s small, made out of recyclable materials and easy on the wallet.
Once you have your bin, throw in some bedding, moisture and red wigglers and set the box in a shady spot on your porch. Over time you’ll add more worms and table scraps to get a box of composting material that’s always ready.
Like ground composting, it’ll smell no matter what lid you put on it, so be aware that your neighbors might complain if they spend a lot of time on their porch. The box will also attract gnats because of the moisture.
Even if you don’t throw away a lot of food, you can still compost. Instead of throwing the grass clippings from mowing in a trash can, use a wheelbarrow to dump the clippings and create a pile in a spot where it won’t be an eyesore. The grass will decompose and leave the soil under it as a resource to distribute to plants that need fresh nutrients.
This version of composting will eventually look bad, as a browning pile of grass isn’t exactly a stellar yard decoration. One way around this is to ditch the mower bag and let the grass clippings settle in your yard as you mow. They’ll naturally decompose and help new grass grow.
No matter what kind of composting you decide to go with, you’ll be helping the Earth by keeping local landfills small and nurturing healthy plants that contribute to the ecosystem. It’ll also save you a good chunk of change, which never hurts either.