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  • Terrell Wong

Capitalizing On Your Compost Capabilities

What is composting? Composting allows organic waste from you home to decompose naturally. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves soil health, and allows for nutrients to be recycled.


How can you start composting? Composting is actually a lot easier than it seems. The first step is saving your organic waste and finding a place to store it. Next you can create a compost mix. The most common way to do this is to separate your compost into your greens and browns. Greens include fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, and any yard waste. Browns include items that have more carbon in them such as egg cartons and newspapers. These items tend to be dry whereas green items tend to be wet. After making the compost mix you have to find somewhere to let it break down. Backyards are most commonly places for composting piles. If you don’t have access to a yard, you could use vermiculture, also known as a worm composting. For those who want less work and mess consider an electric composter. The final step after making your compost pile is to wait for it to break down!


If you are going to start composting there is some important information you need to know. First, what can and can’t be composted? Fruits, vegetables, egg shells, coffee grounds, compostable tea bags, nut shells, shredded newspaper, paper, yard trimmings, grass clippings, house plants, hay/straw, leaves, sawdust, wood chips, cotton/wool rags, hair/fur, and ashes can all be composed. On the other hand, meat products, dairy products, baked goods, treated sawdust, highly acidic foods (such as lemons and limes), oils, pet waste, and weeds should not be composted unless you use more complex methods like fermentation. The main issue is perdation from animals, as any organic material will break down eventually,


Although a compost pile is a very common method used there are many others that may be a better fit for you. For example another method of composting is fermenting. This allows for you to compost acidic foods, bones, small amounts of dairy, and meats. To ferment your compost you need to add lactic acid to start the fermentation. Lactic acid can be made from water and fermented rice. In order for fermentation to be successful, you also have to make sure there is little to no air in the container holding your compost. You compost will also create a juice that can be reused in your garden. Since the juice compost produces is very acidic it can be used to kill weeds or it can be heavily watered down (9:1 ratio) and used to feed your garden.


Another alternative is an electric composter. Electric composters can be used to compost quickly indoors. First these composters dry out the waste killing all weeds and pathogens. Next it grinds the waste into powder like substance, reducing the size of your compost. Finally the compost is cooled to room temperature. This cycle typically takes 5 hours to complete although depending on the amount and nature of the compost it can take up to 48 hours.


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