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.
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.
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.
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.
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.