Backyard Composting: Healthy Soil, Healthy Plants, Healthy Home

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Composting is the process for breaking down waste from your yard and your home to make organic plant fertilizer. Composting is a natural process, but you can help accelerate the process and make the best use for your household's waste in order to see healthier soil and healthier plants. Composting is just like recycling because you are optimizing the use of your waste in order to protect the planet and, in turn, your livelihood. According to Eureka! Recycling, if you look in your garbage can, about 25 percent of your trash could be composted. Maybe it's time to consider looking in to composting at home. (via Eco Cycle)

compost pile hands

Why should you compost at home?

The waste from your kitchen alone could make a significant impact on your soil health. Simply tossing your wasted food into the trash and putting it at the curb for pickup starts a chain reaction that points directly to environmental problems. A truck drives around picking it up and suddenly you've lost a valuable resource while contributing to toxic emissions. According to Eureka! Recycling, waste that decomposes in a landfill is cut off from oxygen and produces methane, which is a major contributor to the atmosphere's trapping heat around the earth's surface. In addition, the decomposing food collects toxins, creating a toxic "sludge" that seeps into the ground and contaminates the water. Composting at home decreases the use of the middle man and uses your waste for good instead of evil.

>> Read more: A Beginner's Guide to Gardening with Kids

How can you start backyard composting?

Composting at home can be as easy as a pile of dead leaves and other decomposing matter at the corner of your property. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you just need three simple ingredients to compost: air, water and food. You should see two dominant colors in your pile or bins: green and brown. Just find where you want to put it, chop or shred your browns and greens, mix in grass clippings, bury your vegetables and fruit and finally, make sure everything is moist. Add water when you need to. If you want, you can even cover your pile with a tarp. Turn your pile every now and then to get air flow and ensure consistent decomposition. When the materials are a dark, rich color, it's ready to use! If you don't have room in your yard, you can get indoor composting bins here. If you compost properly, there shouldn't be an odor at all.

composting

What can you put in your compost pile or bin?

Your materials should include things like fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, used coffee filters, yard clippings, tea bags, moldy bread, leaves, paper towels, plates and dead plants. Do not put things like meat scraps, bones, pet feces, plastic, metal or foods that are fatty or oily in your pile. Make sure you have a good balance of brown and green as well as a balance of wet and dry things. Find more details here.

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What do you do with your compost when it's ready?

Composts have a large amount of nutrients and minerals that can help improve the health of your soil and grass. You can also use your compost for your indoor and potted plants. Use your compost in place of fertilizers. If you have an area in your yard where you want to grow grass, use your compost. Compost can also help improve drainage wherever you might have problems in your yard. (via Make Dirt Not Waste)

Make sure you check your local laws surrounding composting at home. Here is a troubleshooting guide for when you have issues or are concerned about your compost pile. Backyard composting is an easy way to help the environment and save money while also ensuring that your soil is healthy and productive, especially if you have a garden where you grow fresh veggies for your home. Do your research and consider taking steps to a cleaner environment with your family.

>> Read more: How to Jumpstart a Green Lifestyle in Your Home