Most people associate the word recycling with plastics, glass and paper products, but in fact, you can also recycle many organic materials into compost. Compost, a rich soil, can be made by mixing plant materials and assorted manures together to slowly decay over time. After about six to nine months, the materials decay to form an excellent composting material for many uses on residential properties and city projects.
- Excellent soil amendment. Rich, dark, crumbly compost is the perfect soil amendment for sandy soils or those areas containing heavy, dense clay. Compost helps to improve soil structure, which helps the soil to retain, air, and water and nutrients vital to plants.
- Compost is an essential element for flower and vegetable gardens. Plants in garden beds prepared using compost flourish and produce more fruits and flowers.
- The health of any landscaping plants, trees, roses, lawns and flowers can be improved with composting.
- Composting can also help soil to retain more moisture, which is very important in desert climates.
- Using compost as surface mulch in a variety of gardens may also help to reduce the number of weeds.
- All kinds of fruit and vegetable scraps from cooking, which could include carrot peels, pineapple skins, old lettuce, apple cores, potato skins and leftover vegetables.
- Clippings from house plants, coffee grounds and used teabags.
- Any kind of plant materials from the yard like green or brown leaves, grass clippings and last year’s vegetable plants.
- Hay, straw and cow, chicken or horse manure.
Most people are surprised at the number of organic materials they toss in the garbage can, which could be recycled into rich compost.
To start your own compost bin or pile you can buy compost bins, use a large trash container or build a sturdy structure to hold organic materials.
Gather a mixed assortment of both brown and green vegetation and toss them into your compost pile. Mix in household cooking scraps and other organic materials you’ve collected, and add manure if you have a ready source. Hose down the compost weekly. Turn the pile with a pitch fork periodically, and if possible, cover for more heat retention.
With luck, in about six months or so, you should have some great compost for all of your gardening needs.