100 Day Challenge #28: It doesn't matter how, just compost
Composting is awesome! You're taking something that would have unnecessarily ended up in the landfill and creating nutrient-rich soil (for free!). You're truly seeing nature's magic at its best. Once you change your perspective on organic scraps and realize that food isn't trash, you'll never want to throw a banana peel or apple core into the garbage again!
According to the EPA, organic material continues to be the largest component of solid waste in landfills. Paper and cardboard account for 27%, yard trimmings 13.5%, and food an additional 14.6%. All together, organic material makes up 55% of the waste in landfills.
Would you be against eliminating over half of the waste in our landfills simply by repurposing it into a material that enriches your garden and reduces your need for chemical fertilizers? We definitely wouldn't!
We all have different lifestyles and the traditional form of composting (turning a big pile in your backyard with a pitchfork once a week) just doesn't work for everybody. The good news is there are composting options that fit many kinds of lifestyles, so you just have to find and implement the one that's right for you. Here are our four favorite ways you can compost at home.
1. Open Air Composting (for those who don't shy away from a pitchfork)
This is what we all probably imagine when we think of composting: food waste, yard clippings, and other organics piled up in your backyard. Most often, these piles are contained by a wire cage or cinder blocks, but it literally can just be a pile in your yard. You can create your compost cage out of materials you already have at home and it doesn't cost much (if anything), but you need the space and have to be okay with have a pile of organics that needs to be turned regularly. Here is a great article that goes in depth into open air composting and everything you need to know about it.
2. Direct or trench composting (for those who like digging)
This is an extremely old form of composting where you dig a hole, bury your scraps, and let nature (mostly the worms) take it from there. This does require some work upfront since you have to dig a hole or trench that's about 12 inches deep, but once you fill it with scraps ,the process is petty hands off and produces nutrient-rich soil for your yard. To go down the worm hole for trench composting, read this awesome article.
3. Tumbler composting (for those who are awesome like us!)
We love compost tumblers! They're efficient, easy to turn and aerate (so the organic matter decomposes faster), and they keep your yard neat and tidy. You do need to be more hands-on and vigilant about the balance between green and brown items you put in (it should roughly be a 50/50 split), but the upkeep requires minimal physical exertion and its fun to see how the organic matter decays inside. Read more about tumbler composting here.
4. Vermicomposting (for those living in apartments or homes with limited to no yard space)
We've had worms taking care of our kitchen scraps for years! They're fascinating (they regulate their own population depending on how much food you give them), low-maintenance, and super efficient decomposers. They are truly the gateway pet! One word of caution about vermicomposting is that worms like to be within a temperature range of 55°F - 75°F. So, on hot summer days and cold winter nights we have to bring them inside and it can cause a but of a fruit fly problem. However, once you get the fruit flies under control, you don't even notice the worms are there since the bin is completely odorless. Go to our products page to see our favorite worm bin and Red Wiggler worms, and learn more about how to be a vermicomposting pro.
This is by no means an exhaustive list on all the ways you can compost, so get creative and figure out what works best for you.
However you do it, stop taking Earth's nutrients out of the ecological cycle and just start composting!