Composting 101: 3 things you need to know before you start

Composting 101: 3 things you need to know before you start

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Does your garden need a health boost? Composting is an easy, eco-friendly and important way that you can make your garden thrive.

1) Composting doesn’t require a ton of space

Marigold Wilson, a composting and garden expert from the Richland County Library at St. Andrews, is in charge of monitoring the libraries’ gardens and compost bins. “If you have a spot perhaps in the back corner of your backyard you already have somewhere to compost,” Wilson says. Composting does require a composting bin to store your materials, but it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Many composting bins are inexpensive and can be found at many local gardening or outdoor home stores.

2) Composting uses a lot of kitchen scraps you already have

Composting begins with the layering process so that organic material can be broken down and then used for your gardens soil. Wilson said that the “black gold” that comes from the composted material is truly the best way to ensure your garden is healthy and thriving. The basic ratio of composting is one-third green materials and two-thirds brown materials. You lay those on top of your sticks and twigs found in your yard. Your green materials, or nitrogen, are items like: coffee grounds, fruit and veggie scraps, table scraps, grass clippings, and flower cuttings. You combine and layer those with your brown materials like: wood chips, straw, shrub pruning, newspaper, leaves, dryer lint and cardboard.

Turning your compost once or twice a month will ensure your pile breaks down for you to use in your garden. “Composting is a fantastic resource for the garden. You can use the dirt before you plant crops or you can use it as a mulch - about 2-3 inches deep on top of the seeds and it will actually maintain the temperature of the garden throughout the day.”

A few things to avoid putting in your compost pile include: citrus skins, meat, bones, or fish scraps.

3) Composting is helping your backyard and the planet

With issues like over saturated landfills and global warming, it’s hard to know how to help our beautiful planet. Composting provides tangible materials that prove you’re making a difference! According to EarthEasy, “composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can.” That means all those cooking scraps in your kitchen can turn into good use. Composting also is great for the health of those around you. Chemical fertilizers when applied to lawns and garden beds harm the earth around it, whereas composting offers a natural alternative that actually feeds the ecosystem around your home.

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