About Me

Loving Your Little Landscape

I have never been a natural gardener. For years, I struggled to keep basic houseplants alive, only to kill them at the first opportunity. It was difficult and stressful to buy a home with a yard, but I knew that I might be able to learn what I was doing wrong and correct the problem. To start off, I focused heavily on the lawn, and tried hard to keep it trimmed and well-maintained. Next, I cleaned up the flowerbeds. It was a lot of work, but I knew that it would pay off in the end. When I was done, my front yard was gorgeous, and guess what--it even stayed alive. This blog is all about loving your little landscape.



Loving Your Little Landscape

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Composting Made Easy

by Charlotte White

Composting is an easy way to economically and environmentally utilize waste. Whether you're looking to spruce up your flower beds, create a sustainable landscaping project, or start a community garden, composting can provide plants, trees, shrubs, and bushes with organic nutrients and keep your waste out of landfills.

Composting Supplies

Essentially, all organic (carbon-based) materials will biodegrade, which is at the heart of composting. Finding local sources of compost material probably isn't as hard as you might think.

Restaurants, Cafeterias, Supermarkets: A staggering amount of food ends up in the trash. You can turn this discarded food into composting gold. The best items for composting are plant-based. Thus, snagging fruits and vegetables should be at the top of your list for composting. Many restaurants save their table scraps specifically to donate to local farms or charities. Providing them with a 5- or 10-gallon bucket can allow them to give you composting materials as they clean their dishes or discard other kitchen scraps like potato peels, apple cores, carrot tops, onion skins, and so on. It's important to avoid meats, dairy, or other oily foods, as they will take much longer to break down.

Forging relationships with these local resources can give you all the composting materials you need. Furthermore, local restaurants, smaller supermarkets, and schools will be less likely to have corporate policies dictating policies related to discarded food.

Animal Waste: Few items are more suited for composing than poop. Cow patties, chicken droppings, pig scat, and just about any other animal's natural business can be composted with ease.

Brown Waste: Leaves, wood chips, and paper products will provide you with some structure to build your composting heap.   

Composting Basics

Composting is a basic biological event. You only really need four basic materials to make it happen: water, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon.

Layering: To facilitate oxygen flow and composting integration, you will need to layer your composting pile. Begin by building your composting pile in your composting container. This container should have a solid bottom and provide some airflow. Next layer your composting pile as follows: brown layer, food scraps, animal waste, brown layer, food scraps, animal waste. As you build your layers, you'll want to water each "brown waste" layer.

Last, you'll need to wait. Composting depends largely on temperature and composition. Typically, the hotter and more humid the environment, the quicker the organic material will break down. Thus, if you live in a particularly cold or dry environment, you'll want to place your composting container in direct sunlight and add more water.

Learn more about compost by reaching out to local compost supply resources.