20 Aug Ask Flora: Starting Compost but not for Plants
Dear Flora-I just started a compost pile. I haven’t planted anything yet and don’t even know if I will. But we are a family of five and I do want to reduce our garbage. I have a bin with a lid that turns. How do I make sure that I am doing it right?
You are almost there. What are you going to do with your compost? Consider adding it to your beds that you already have or offering it to your neighbors if you aren’t going to use it yourself. As far as reducing garbage, a noble thought (thank you!), make sure that you are recycling everything possible at your curb first. Then, a compost pile is the next logical step. Here are Flora’s rules for composts:
- Compost only food items that come directly from the ground. In other words, things that grow. Use peelings, roots and leftovers of these items. No meat, grease or starches.
- Compost other items only if they are biodegradable, such as dissolving plates marked for going into compost.
- Compost yard debris such as leaves and grass. (Note: if you do use compost for food gardening later on, be aware of any pesticides or weed killers used on the grass before adding). Layer these with the food. Dirt is good too.
- Turn your bin once a month or so and add a little water.
- Keep the lid on to reduce the smell.
For those of you who don’t have a turning bin, I recommend that you get one as it makes mixing so much easier on your back. But if you can’t, that’s OK. A large garbage can with a lid and a shovel works well. I’ve even seen some compost piles made out of a wire fencing shaped into a circle.