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How To Compost & Why It Benefits Soil

How To Compost & Why It Benefits Soil
By Sydney Kaye - Nursery Specialist

Composting is a great way to reduce waste and also create a healthy food source for your plants! There are two ways that you can create compost in your own home. The first is making a pile on bare earth in your yard and the second is making a worm bin that can be used indoors or outdoors.

To create a compost pile outdoors all you need is some bare ground, green waste and, if you'd like, something to cover the pile such as wood or plastic sheeting to help retain moisture. When you create a pile outdoors, beneficial insects and organisms that assist in breaking down plant material will find their way to the pile, which is why the addition of worms is not necessary when composting in this manner.

Your compost pile should be layered like this:
Base: Bare earth
First Layer: Small branches or straw to help with drainage
Second Layer: Organic waste
Optional top layer: A cover to help retain moisture

For an indoor compost bin you are going to need to purchase a worm bin or make your own. Because you are keeping your compost in a contained bin, you need to add worms since they won't be able to naturally find their way into the bin. The most common worms used for composting are red wigglers. In the worm bin you need to create a layer of bedding for your composting creatures. You can do so by tearing up some old newspaper and mixing with some soil. The key is to keep the bedding damp so the worms don't dry out. Now you're ready to add some food scraps!

Most food and garden waste can be composted but there are a few things that should never be added to your pile or bin. You should avoid adding meat or dairy products to your compost because it will cause a bad odor. Citrus peels or leftovers should never be added because they can be harmful to the worms. After a few weeks of mixing in waste to your pile or bin you should start to see the materials being broken down and the compost is ready to go.

Setting up a compost site or worm bin may seem like a lot of work but in the end you get to use this compost as your own nutrient boost for plants! What's cooler than taking something that would otherwise become trash and turning it into something incredibly useful? Compost is beneficial for plants because it enhances soil. As plants grow and retain nutrients from soil, the soil becomes depleted. Compost is a great amendment to soil that can provide new nutrients to plants. In addition, compost helps retain moisture which older soil can lose the ability to do.

A Sydney Kaye Blog


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