Composting 101

June 20, 2013

After our trip to Rome, GA to see Cabell’s house, garden & vegetable garden, I was really inspired to try composting again. Cabell had two big compost bins by her veggie containers full of good, decaying stuff. So I popped on over to Home Depot and picked up this octagonal compost bin, pulled my kitchen compost pail out of the pantry and got to work. Here are a few composting tips, from a first-timer!

First-time Composting Tips & Tricks

1. You can compost: Fruit / veggie scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, grass clippings, & newspaper.
2. You can’t compost: Meat, dairy & bones. Those will attract pests and all kinds of yucky stuff.
3. Place your compost bin in a sunny spot. (I have lots of trees so I don’t actually follow this tip. It does make the compost “cook” a little faster, but no worries if you only have shade, like me. It will still happen!)
4. When you can no longer tell what it is, it’s ready.
5. Egg shells are great for compost, but they can take a while to fully break down. You can crush them to speed up the decomposition process or don’t and the pieces will continue to decompose and release calcium after planted into the soil.
6. Depending on how much garlic you eat, don’t overload your compost with garlic. It’s full of antibiotics and can kill the microorganisms that are breaking down the compost.
7. Adding hot peppers to your compost will deter bugs! (I haven’t tried this yet, but apparently it works!)

Most of all, just remember that nature will do it’s thing. Save some kitchen scraps, throw them in a pile and see what happens.

I really love taking what used to pile up as trash and use it for a purpose. It’s a neat lesson that reminds me of high school biology to peek in the bin and see science happening right before your eyes. Plus, it’s going to be neat when I can use the nutrient-rich soil in my garden!

PS – Here’s a cute compost bin to get you started! And another one.

Copyright Whitney Curtis 2010-2013

2 thoughts on “Composting 101

  1. Emily

    Great comments! I was just thinking that this would be the perfect thing to have my kids help with this summer. Quick question…do you leave the compost bin out all winter?

  2. whitney

    Hi Emily! Yes, I will leave it out year-round. The hot temperatures help speed up decomposition in the warmer months, but the microorganisms will still breakdown organic material during the winter. HOpe that helps!


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