By Megan Vick
Composting is great to do at home, but it can be a tricky, nasty, smelly, and unproductive business if you don’t start it correctly. After some epic fails at my home, here are some “Do’s” and “Don’ts.”
- Toss in produce, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags & leaves, shredded mail, animal bedding (hamsters, guinea pigs, etc), sawdust, hair (from your hairbrush), nail clippings, natural fibers like 100% wool or cotton (in small pieces)
- Turn or tumble your heap weekly to mix up the material and spread the decomposition process evenly
- Add manure from a horse or cow (any herbivore)
- Add a compost starter or accelerator
- Be patient!
- Don’t try to compost if you live in a small place. It’s too much work, too much mess, and little to no reward. If you’re in an apartment, try starting a community compost area for all the residents!
- Don’t compost ashes, cat feces or litter, dog feces, colored paper, lime, meat/bones/fat/grease/oils, toxic materials, etc.
- Don’t leave your compost in an open pile as it could attract pests and rodents.
- Don’t add seeds- they just might sprout!
- Don’t use compost as soil- use it in addition to the soil
There are other methods of composting like vermiculture (or vermicompost), hot composting, or toilet composting (yes, it’s true). For starters, I recommend you stick with regular composting and work your way to one of the other trickier options. You’ll get the same outcome- beautiful, rich, dark compost that was well worth the wait!
Have you tried composting at home? What did you do and how did it turn out?