DSC_0001The ground in our back yard has finally thawed enough for us to start up our composting again. We have one pile going strong, and though cool temperatures at night will likely keep the decomposition rate pretty slow for the next month or so, I am continually surprised by how quickly kitchen scraps break down in that big old pile of dirt!

So, I thought I would provide a few tips that we have learned over years of composting, and in return, I would love to hear some of your tips, if you compost!

  • Keep the dirt-to-scraps ratio high: I keep ours at about 1/3 dirt, 1/3 scraps from the kitchen, and 1/3 other organic matter (including dried leaves, grass clippings, and other discarded plants- excluding weeds with seeds, unless you want a pile of dandelions growing in your compost area). This keeps the odor of decay completely at bay, and discourages critters.
  • Do not add any sort of meat or animal feces! There are good kinds of worms (earthworms, for instance) and bad kinds (um… maggots… you don’t want those). If you decide to add cow or horse manure, make sure is is seasoned (dried out)
  • Good examples of kitchen scraps to add to your compost: eggshells (I crush ours first and they literally disappear within a day), veggie and fruit peelings (but not citrus), coffee grounds, even wilted flowers from your home (see mini daffodils above)
  • Be sure to keep your compost pile turned (every couple of days) and moist (if you are having a dry spell, I do recommend gently watering the pile, or the earthworms will go elsewhere)

Do you compost? I am always amazed by how easy it is. You don’t need a compost container at all, just a pile! And also, I am reminded every season of how much food waste goes into our trash when we don’t compost. Pretty amazing stuff!

Check out this post from a year ago on composting for extra tips on starting your own compost pile. 

8 thoughts on “Composting”
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  1. I always want to compost at home, but we still don’t. We do compost at our garden plot, but since it’s not right at our house it makes things a bit trickier. I’m looking forward to seeing all your garden progress this year, sounds like you have some fun plans!

  2. I’ve wanted to compost forever! I like your piles (no bins). But I’m afraid of rats & other critters! Do you have any issues?

  3. Heather- we really don’t have problems with critters, but I think that’s because we have a Jack Russell Terrier! I also think the key is to keep the food buried deeply enough in the pile so that it won’t stink when it decomposes. As long as it’s not stinky, you should be good!

  4. I’m impressed by all you manage to do with your three boys in tow. We tried composting once, but didn’t really keep up with it enough to make it successful. We had to make a square frame kind of style to keep our three dogs out and it was quite a mess really. Hopefully one day I can revisit these posts of yours to get our own started again, but for now I just love reading about your gardening journey.

  5. Since we just moved in August we weren’t able to have a garden last summer… now that we are settled in and have our act together (kinda) I am determined to have a garden! I’ve never composted before so these tips are great, thanks for sharing 🙂

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