Tag Archive | "composting"

Composting

Composting: A Green Way to Get a Better Garden

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.

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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.

Composting Tips

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.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers.

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Ebook – Composting

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New E-Book Easily Explains How to Start Composting

Naturally Earth Friendly writes that composting household and yard waste provides a way to balance our waste process of household items and deliver nutrient rich compost.

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. – January 9, 2012 – Naturally Earth Friendly has written an eBook entitled “Beginner’s Guide to Composting.” The e-book is available for only $7 and can be downloaded here.

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The 33-page e-book pulls its ideas from massive research and talking with composters who found challenges and what they did to fix the problems. Novice and master composters alike shared many commonalities.

Composters need to know the proper ratio of adding waste ingredients and then be ready to adapt when the compost pile changes, such as being too wet or too dry.

Meant to be an informative resource it is not too technical, making it an easy to read manual for all people new to composting. Moreover they write, a composting pile is fluid, changing form as the primary ingredients are added. The process describes how to create a compost bin in your backyard without smelling like garbage or attracting wildlife.

In the e-book, Naturally Earth Friendly writes that even composting beginners, despite their best efforts, currently make common mistakes and are uneducated into how to fix them. This usually creates a sense of defeat and beginners often give up on composting their household waste. Naturally Earth Friendly hopes to solve this feeling of defeat by helping them learn common errors with solutions.

Readers will:

  • Learn the various options for creating a compost bin – enclosed or open – and their strengths and weaknesses
  • Discover the impact of normal trash problems on the environment as landfills become overcrowded over time.
  • Learn how to balance the addition of “greens” and “browns” to ensure a properly balanced compost
  • Understand the value of quality compost fertilizer for garden soil and edible plants

“Contrary to popular belief, composting is not difficult,” Brianne Coelho, founder of Naturally Earth Friendly, said. “Composters must know the proper ratio of adding waste ingredients and then be ready to adapt when the compost pile changes, such as being too wet or too dry.”

“Thanks to the ever growing popularity of sustainable living and environmental concerns, many people are exploring the possibility of composting in their own backyards,” Coelho added.

The e-book is available for instant download at http://download.naturallyearthfriendly.com/composting.

About Naturally Earth Friendly

Naturally Earth Friendly is dedicated to empowering families into making their lives more sustainable. In addition to green news and product information, they are partial to eco conscious lifestyle tips. Devoted to helping people learn what they can do to help ensure a healthy planet for our children and future generations. For more information, visit http://NaturallyEarthFriendly.com.

Get instant access to the Beginner’s Guide to Composting which reveals a step-by-step guide to get started composting easily and efficiently. Learn how to turn your smelly garbage heap into the best compost fertilizer. Go to http://download.naturallyearthfriendly.com/composting to find out more.

Contact
Naturally Earth Friendly 
Brianne Coelho 
[email protected]

 

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Home Composting Made Easy

This fun handbook offers step-by-step instructions for everyday composting. Divert 30% of your home waste from landfills. Composting allows you to use waste from the home and garden to create plush garden soil. It's easy-peasy folks!Authors: C. Forrest McDowell, Phd & Tricia Clark-McDowell. Paperback, 32 pages

 

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Composting with Worms

A classroom composting experiment demonstrates why worms are called "nature's recyclers." Students will observe firsthand how earthworms transform garbage into compost.

Objective: Students will learn why some people call worms “nature's recyclers.” They will discuss how worms can help solve environmental problems. They will predict what will happen in two (control and experiment) containers – one with soil and trash, the other with soil, trash and worms.

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Materials Needed: two see-through plastic containers of the same size, with lids (punch holes in sides and lid of container), earthworms, garbage items (chopped carrots, apples shavings, coffee grounds, and crushed eggshells), student journals (optional)

Do not use meat or dairy products because they will smell bad.

Activity:

1. Start with two see-through plastic containers of the same size and punch small air holes in the lid of the container and along the sides. Spread about 2 inches of rich soil in the bottom of the container. Place garbage items on top. Each container should contain an equal amount of soil and garbage items. Cover the garbage with another 2 inches of soil. Then add earthworms to only one container.

2. You might want the students to predict what will happen in their journals.

3. You'll want to keep the soil slightly damp, but do not over water.

4. Observe and compare changes over the next two weeks. After two weeks, discuss the results of the experiment. What happened to the trash in the container with and without worms? How did changes in the two containers differ? Why? How can worms help cut down on trash?Earthworms “digest” the garbage and soil, producing richer soil.

Source: Education World

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Apartment Composting With a Compost Tumbler

So you want to compost, but you live in an apartment. Don't fret, there are things you can still do. Apartment composting can be done with a traditional compost bin as many are compact and can fit on an apartment patio or balcony.

First, do you have a patio or balcony?

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If you are lucky enough to have a patio or balcony, then you probably have room for plants. Unfortunately I only have room for one Gardenia. Since I don't have any indoor plants, yet, I'm still doing my research on what to get for the best helpers in keeping my air healthy and clean.

So you have plants and you want to give them the benefits of rich soil by means of composting. Good for you, use that food wastage and make it work for the planet. Depending on the size of your patio or balcony, you might have room for an outdoor version compost pile. 

Dual-Batch Compost Tumbler

The Dual-Batch Compost Tumbler is one option and will cost you $169, but check out their sales prices. It features two rotating bins so you can let one side "cook" while filling the other up.

DIY Compost Bin

If you don't have the money for something like this, you can make your own. eHow has an article, How to Make a Compost Bin From a Garbage Can. It uses a recycled garbage, bricks, garden hoses, and old newspapers.  

Luxury: NatureMill PRO XE

What if you don't have a balcony or patio, or even if you do it's simply not large enough. If this describes your situation, there are options for indoor composting bins.

Below is the PRO XE Mill by NatureMill. For $450 it's definitely a luxury. The NatureMill PRO XE is fully automatic and odor free.

Compost is ready every 2 weeks, and the best thing is you can add food waste any time, any day. Waste items are processed continuously, mixed every 4 hours. It's small enough to fit under some lower cabinets, or just place it on the floor in your kitchen. Talk about an easy way to start composting, and it's a composting luxury small enough for apartment living.

​Worm Bin Composting

If you prefer to do it yourself, I came across a homemade Indoor Compost Bin at One-change.com. Click here to see their easy to follow steps and you'll have your homemade compost bin in no time.
 
This system uses worms, so technically it might be better called a Worm bin. They even show pictures to see what's going on.
 

​Apartment Composting Tips

  You're ready to start composting, here's a few tips. If you don't have the indoor composter to do your composting for you automatically, you might want to have two containers to hold your compost materials. That way when the first one is full and processing, you can start filling up the second one.

You'll also want to pick up a compost keeper or compost pail to stay on the kitchen counter.  Target sells a Stainless Steel Compost Keeper for $59.99 and the Ceramic Compost Pail is sold by Williams-Sonoma for only $32.00.

These countertop canisters will collect the food scraps that you will later transfer to your outdoor composter or home made composter. Look for ones that are equipped with a charcoal filter to absorb the food odors. You want it to work well, but not have to smell the process. If it stinks, something's wrong.

What should be put in the compost?

Here is a list from the Environment Protection Agency of what is acceptable to put in your composter:

Grass clippings, Leaves, Straw, and hay, Wood chips,  Sawdust, Teabags, Fruit and Vegetable Scraps, Coffee grounds and Paper Filters, Egg shells, Vacuum Cleaner, Lint Hair Clippings, Shredded Newspaper, Fireplace Ashes, Wool and Cotton Rags

Here is a list of What not to throw in your composter:

Diseased Plants, Pernicious Weeds, Human and Pet Wastes, Chemically Treated Wood, Barbeque Grill Ash, Meat and Fish Scraps, and Bones Oils and Other Fatty Food Products, Milk Products

What Not to Put In Your Composter, Climate Warming Watch

In the beginning it's best to use uncooked fruit and vegetables. Avoid meat, fish, dairy, or oils. After you feel comfortable with composting and have a little more knowledge, you can decide what to include yourself.

The meat and fish scraps, milk and fatty foods are suggested to be avoided because of their attraction to rats and other pests, who might be carrying diseases. They will, however, break down in a food composter eventually.

I hope this helps you on your way to composting. And don't let apartment living stop you, as shown above there are ways to get around the lack of space. You might want to watch this video for more information. Just for your knowledge, Vermicompost refers to worm composting.

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