This guest post is by Kelli Cooper for Stock PKG, a site that offers compostable bags for your business and personal needs.
A beautiful garden is a great way to spruce up the outside of your home. Understandably, it is important that it looks nice; unfortunately, many methods of growing and maintaining beautiful plants are less than friendly to the environment. Chemical-laden fertilizers release toxic substances into the air and the ground and are harmful for surrounding wildlife. If you are looking for a greener way to fertilize your plants, composting is a great alternative to traditional fertilizers. It also offers many other benefits that are good for the environment and your wallet.
Benefits of Composting
Composting helps put your garbage to good use. Even biodegradable materials take longer to break down in a landfill; using appropriate items for composting frees up space in landfills. Composted material naturally creates bacteria and other beneficial substances that fertilize your plants naturally and more effectively. Higher quality soil not only helps the plants grow better, it holds moisture better, which cuts down on water usage. Reducing water usage is good for the environment and your monthly water bill.
Appropriate Compost Material
Not everything that ends up in the trash necessarily makes good composting material. Appropriate items include grass clippings, fruits and vegetables, leaves, twigs, shredded newspaper and plain white paper, eggshells, coffee grounds, fruit peels and rinds, feathers, ground nut shells, cardboard, pine needles, saw dust, cotton rags, animal manure, vacuum cleaner and dryer lint, hair, fur, feathers, straw, house plants, tea bags, wood chips and wool rags.
Inappropriate Compost Material
Do not include eggs (shell okay), dairy products, meat, fish, cat litter, animal waste, chemically treated grass, plants,etc.., meat or fish bones, insect or disease-ridden plants, coal, charcoal, ash, dairy products, eggs, disease or insect-infested plants, meat and fish bones or scraps, dog and cat waste, cat litter and yard trimmings that were treated with chemical pesticides, colored paper, fatty foods, greasy foods, oily foods, dirty dishwater or peanut butter.
Optimal composting takes place between 120 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit; lower temperatures will lengthen the process. Keep your pile directly in the sun. The optimal size for a compost pile is 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet…easy to manage and provides optimal air flow. The pile needs to be damp for proper breakdown of the materials but not too wet…think of the dampness level of a wrung-out sponge. You can layer your pile alternating with ‘’browns’’ and ‘’greens’’ or you can mix them all together…either way is okay. Chop materials into small pieces to help it break down more efficiently. Keep a good mix of materials—too much of one material in your pile will slow down the breakdown process.
If you want a beautiful garden and want to be more eco-friendly, composting is a great and inexpensive way to accomplish both goals. If do-it-yourself composting is not your thing, you can also buy compost material all ready to go. If a lot of people make little changes, it can make a big impact on creating a healthier planet.
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