Composting 101

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I am, by no means, a composting expert. However, I have attempted several composts now, and done a significant amount of research, so I feel confident that I can help at least a few of you! Plus, I’ve received several comments lately (both on the blog and off) asking about composting, so I figured, in light of it being Earth Day, well, yesterday, a compost post was appropriate. (Sorry I didn’t get around to posting this ON Earth Day!)

The composts I have started have always been for apartments, so I will discuss small-container composting for you today. Someday I do hope to get a large container compost for my backyard, but since I don’t have a backyard at the moment, my rubbermaid container will have to do.
Yup, that’s all I have. A rubbermaid container full of food waste! Composting is easy, cheap, and even saves money…I’m taking the trash out only once a week for the two of us because there are fewer things in there that make it smell!

To start a compost, go buy a medium sized plastic bin, and drill holes in all four sides, the top and bottom. This is important for air circulation and allowing rain water in and the compost to drain properly.
Next, rip up newspaper, scrap paper, junk mail and whatever you can find and fill the bottom of the bin. Next, pour some water over the paper, enough to wet it, but not soaked. The compost should remain wet but not sopping wet, that will make it mold and smell, which is bad.
After that, you’re ready to add food! I keep an old plastic bowl next to my sink and when it gets full (or smelly) I will bring it out to the compost which sits right outside our back door, just off the kitchen, conveniently! About once a week I go out there with some nice yellow kitchen gloves and stir it.

If you are impatient and want to speed up the process, you could try adding worms to your compost. We have done that in the past, and probably will again this year. I typically get my worms online, and if it’s just one or two of you adding to the compost, I would recommend 500 or about a pound of worms, depending on how they are sold. I got mine online, at Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, but you can get them just about anywhere online. I haven’t tried to get them in a store yet, but if you do make sure they are red worms, because those are the best for composts. Worms, of course, are completely optional in your compost!

I would suggest not keeping the compost in the house, or buying into those types of composts that say they don’t smell and you can keep them in the house, because, honestly, I don’t believe it. Plus, when your compost is outside, it is more likely to bring critters that will help out the process.
You can put most anything in the compost, with the exception of oil and meat products. I tend to avoid bread, but that’s only really because it gets too wet in this climate and tends to mold, so our bread usually has to go in the trash.

So, how did I do? Do you have any composting 101 questions for me? Or anything else to add?

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About Megg

I'm a 28 year old, newly married, newly living in Washington, librarian trying to find a job in a library. Meanwhile I'm working with kids and spend my afternoons playing Mancala and reading picture books. Come along for the journey as I share recipes, decoration ideas, photos, and hopefully gain some insight from the internet and fellow bloggers.

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