Composting seems kind of foolproof, right? Throw some fruit and veggies parts in a pile, stir it occasionally and with time you can produce healthy soil to help your plants thrive.
Yet, even though the steps seem simple, there are a few things you can do that will actually make the process slow down.
But to be honest, I still consider myself a beginner in many ways. However, this summer I’m determined to up my composting knowledge and skills.
Let’s look at the most common composting mistakes so we can learn how to to avoid them – together.
I’ve also included some photos and links for DIY compost bins, because you shouldn’t have to spend a ton of money on something you’re going to use for kitchen scraps!
Poorly Balanced Browns and Greens
You can make great compost with the proper mix of brown and green organic matter. Browns are things like shredded newspaper and dry leaves, while greens include lawn clippings and vegetable scraps.
The general rule to follow is three parts brown to one part green. People typically use too many greens, resulting in a too-wet, mushy mess.
Improper Moisture Levels
If your pile is too wet or too dry, you impede the necessary decomposition process. When your compost starts to get soggy, mix in more browns and turn your pile more frequently, as adding oxygen will counteract the moisture.
When your pile seems too dry, add a little bit of water to the mix. The sweet spot is a warm pile that smells earthy.
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Lack of Aeration
Oxygen is a key ingredient in effective composting. Remember to regularly turn your pile – either in a compost turner or manually – to introduce oxygen throughout.
Turning your compost once or twice each week is often enough for the pile to get the oxygen it needs.
Composting the Wrong Items
Almost all organic material will break down when given enough time. However, some materials don’t make for good compost, and you should keep them out of your piles.
Avoid putting meats and animal byproducts in your compost, including dairy products and eggs. Even certain plants, like onions and citruses, can impact the composting process due to their acidity.
Hope this guide to composting for beginners will have you well on your way to creating the most beautiful, nutritious compost for your garden!
Posted on March 2, 2022
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