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Simple Composting: Breakdown Go Ahead Give it to Me: Simple Living Ideas


Spring is here early and many of us are thinking about our gardens. A frugal way to feed your garden is with homemade compost. Composting is cost effective if you garden and good for the environment because you are making sure that biodegradable foods are getting to break down. 

Getting Started: 
1) Get a container to put your food scraps in, it doesn’t have to be a fancy compost container it can just be a plastic container. As long as it has a lid it will work. 

compost holder

2) In an out of the way spot in your backyard put a a large heavy duty garbage can that has a locking lid. You can use a regular plastic garage can, all you have to do is drill about a dozen holds in the bottom of it for drainage. This is what we have and it works fine. Of course, you can buy a container specifically designed for composting. It will cost more then a regular garage can.

Compost bins in our garden

3) Put all food scraps including coffee grinds into your indoor container. You can put meat in it if you don’t mind getting maggots in your compost heap. We don’t like them, and we feel that meat and smelly fish might attract wild animals. 
4) When your indoor container is full dump it into your outside composting bin. Each time you dump your food scraps into the outside composting bin add some dried composting material. Dried things such as wood chips, dried leaves or plant cuttings, shredded paper are called “browns.” Material that still contains moisture such as your food scraps and fresh leaves and cuttings are called, “greens.”  You want to keep approximately a 2 to 1 ratio of browns to greens in your compost bin in order to have waste decomposes as quickly as possible. Don’t be concerned if you don’t have enough “browns” your compost will just take longer to break down.
4) Each time you dump your scraps, add your browns, turn the heap a little to air it. This will also help with decomposition. 

Broken down compost

5) When your outside container fills up start a new one and continue to turn your old one until it begins to look like soil. When it no longer has recognizable food items in it, dump it into an outdoor pile. Use this pile to fertilize your garden. 
If you keep a good ratio of browns to greens and you regularly turn your compost pile it should take about 4-5 months for a regular size garbage can to be broken down enough to be used as fertilizer.
copyright 2012 

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  1. YES! This is the simplest explanation I've seen. Thank you!!

    1. I was thinking of you when I wrote it. It really doesn't have to be a complicated endeavor unless you need the compost for this season...then you might want to be very attentive to the compost. There are accelerator you can buy to speed up the process. If you are going to use the compost in your garden you'll would want an organic one.

  2. Love this. Found you on Fresh Foods blog hop. Been trying to get my composting act together. It's been three years of fighting it. Where I started my composting it never broke down and then it got taken over with poison ivy. I know people say that it breaks down, but I am not taking the chance of getting that in my garden. So, I need to start again and find a better way. Anyway, loved your tips and I pinned this in my gardening stuff on Pinterest! Think I will give some of your suggestions a go . . . Thanks!

    1. Good luck with it. You can buy mixes from a gardening store that help the breakdown.

  3. i have always wanted a compost. we tried a small under the sink one but you had to keep opening it and the bacteria that was supposed to do it's job couldn't due to the frequent exposure to air. and then shit just started to rot. maybe once we settle somewhere we can get a proper one. that's the plan anyhow. and then i'll have incredible organic fertilizer!! :)

    thank you for taking the time to share with us at The Wednesday Fresh Foods Blog Hop - we hope to see you again this week with more incredible posts! xo, kristy

  4. I found your post on Fresh Foods Wednesday. I finally had success with my compost, I have had many failures in the past. I found though that many things didn't break down so I had to dig them out and put them at the bottom of a heap for my next compost pile. My other compost is an oozy mess. I through some lobster shells and was also told that it was good to put cheese in it— now it's stinky, oozy and with gigantic maggots (I guess they're being fed well). I'm planning on saving it all up to make a container garden in the fall for healthy soil in the springtime.


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