Learning to compost is one of the easiest outdoor activities families can get involved in, and it is also good for the environment. If moms and dads aren’t already composting, maybe they will be interested in doing it along with their children as a family project. As a general rule, there are numerous items thrown away at school and at home that pollute the earth. But composting will eliminate that problem, and those “throw-away” items will come in handy for the project.
It is fairly easy to learn how to build a compost bin, how to make compost, and how to use it when it is completely broken down into soil. The first step is building the bin. This job will definitely need some help from mom or dad. There are many inexpensive items available to make into a compost bin, such as wood, a trash can, and even chicken wire. A trash can is the simplest method to use because it doesn’t require any actual construction. Chicken wire can be wrapped around a couple of wooden stakes and secured to the ground, so it is also fairly simple. The wooden bins are the most involved, but many online sites offer simple instructions for building the wooden bins. After the compost bin is built, the next step is collecting the materials for the compost.
Compost consists of green items, which produce nitrogen, and brown items, which produce carbon,. There is information available explaining the ratio balance of brown and green material, but, remember, it will decompose anyway: so it is alright to use one half green and one half brown items.
Green materials includes fruit peelings, coffee grounds, grass clippings, water, manure from vegetarian animals, and air. Brown items are dried leaves, paper towels, newspaper, and paper egg cartons. There are more green and brown items but that is enough to get started. The smaller the pieces the faster it will break down into humus, or fertilizer. Water is an important component, so keep a hose near by, and keep the compost moist but not wet.
Most of the materials people compost are things they throw away, but it’s wise to avoid using meat scraps, wood branches, glass, plastic or any garden or yard material sprayed with pesticides. The material needs to be turned with a fork three or four times a week to keep the air circulating. Turning the compost also makes it break down faster into fertilizer.
Once all of the compost is broken down, there may be bugs and worms in it, but that is good. Many people even call it black gold because it is rich with nutrients.
Now the compost heap should look crumbly and smell like earth. It is a rich fertilizer that can be used on gardens, flower beds, trees, and shrubs. It can also be mixed with soil for potted plants. Compost provides several advantages, including keeping water in the soil, increasing drainage by keeping the surface loose, supplying nutrients to the soil, and encouraging earthworms.
Not only is composting fun, but it also helps save money by making fertilizer out of the things the average person throws away, and helps decrease the amount of trash sent to the landfills that pollutes the environment. And if families continue to compost during the winter, a new batch will be ready again once spring arrives. So anytime is a good time to start – like right now.
© 2015 Jo Boester