How Composting Works
I've always known my plants could benefit from the fertilizing effects of my family's cooking scraps, but for me, the idea of composting usually conjured up images of stinky containers bulging with fermenting cucumbers and rotten tomatoes. The process seemed complicated -- and intimidating! But instead of continuing to guiltily toss my carrot peels and apple cores in with the rest of the garbage, I asked Deb Martin, co-author of The Complete Compost Gardening Guide, for some tips on using waste wisely.
How exactly does composting work?
Compost gets made by organisms -- from earthworms to bacteria -- feeding on organic material and breaking it down.
Why is composting green?
Composting takes the nutrients in parts of food we don't use and gives them back to the soil, where they can support the growth of more food. Also, it reduces the amount of trash that will never break down in a landfill.
How do I get started?
For outdoor use, you'll need one part wet waste (like veggie scraps) and two or three parts dry waste (like newspaper), plus air and water. In an area of your lawn or garden, combine the ingredients and dampen them until they're about as wet as a squeezed-out sponge. Stirring or turning the ingredients circulates air and keeps the process moving, which prevents the "rotten" smell.
How can urbanites compost if they don't have room for a garden?
For apartment dwellers, there are several options: worm composting bins; under-the-sink units that grind, turn and aerate the materials; and even composting cooperatives.
- 10 New Ways to Green Your Spring-cleaning
- How Composting Works
- Steps You Can Take to Boost Your Home's Value
- 7 Questions to Answer Before Buying a New Vanity
- Eat-In Kitchens Keep Meals and Families Together
- Paint Now Following Color Trends for 2012
- Teach Your Dog to Enjoy Your Garden Without Destroying It
- Power to the Pumpkin: 20 Ideas for Decorating With Autumn's Favorite Squash
- What's Your Laundry Style?
- Still Plenty to Do in the Garden to Get Ready for Winter
- Late-Blooming Camellias and Chrysanthemums Keep Colors of Autumn Interesting
- Out With the Summer Bulbs and in With the Spring
- Enliven Your Home With Orange
- Structure Is the Key to a Successful Garden
- Jewelry Center to Organize and Display Your Collection
- Interesting Foliage and Fall Blooms Make These Perennials Winners
- Easy Design Ideas Create Intimate and Romantic Dining Room
- Your Pillow Could Be Robbing You Of a Good Night's Sleep
- Price Drops and Financing Options Boost the Appeal of Solar
- Top 10 Cleaning Myths You Need to Know
- Sensual Fall Bedroom Fixes Emphasize Easy Opulence
- Late-Season Bloomers Keep the Garden Party Going
- Fall Is for Planting and Getting Good Deals at the Nursery
- Introducing Privacy to Open Concept Living
- White Kitchen Redux Has Balanced and Timeless Appeal
- Are Net-Zero Energy Houses on the Horizon?
- Easy Home-value Boosters