Composting is such a great thing that you can do for the environment, but it can seem overwhelming when you’re first starting out. There’s a lot that goes into composting properly, but luckily there are a lot of tips and tricks for composting that make it easier to understand! This list of helpful composting hacks is a great reference for anyone who cares about the environment and composts or wants to give it a shot. There are a lot of tips out there for composting, but these 10 are some of the most helpful!
1. Include Greens & Browns
When you have a compost pile, it’s important to include both green compostable waste, and brown compostable waste. To be able to break down efficiently, your compost needs a balanced ratio of nitrogen and carbon.
The nitrogen comes from green waste, such as lawn trimmings, vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee, weeds, and eggshells. The carbon comes from brown waste, such as cardboard, paper, leaves, twigs/sticks, straw, and cotton fabric. With a balance of these green and brown materials, your compost will be happy and working efficiently!
2. Use A Black Bin
If you’re composting during the winter, a trick for making sure your compost is still producing and retaining enough heat is to keep it in a black bin and to put it in the sun as much as possible. The black of the bin will attract the warmth of the sun, which can be sparse in the winter so every little bit helps!
Your compost produces heat when it breaks down and the heat is important to the overall process and efficiency of your compost. It can be hard for your pile to produce enough heat during the colder months, so use a black container to try and suck up as much extra heat as possible!
3. Use Worms!
I know, worms may not be the most adorable creature on the planet. They may even gross some people out, but these little guys make a huge difference when you include them in your compost!
Worms eat a lot of the food and vegetable scraps that get composted, and they eat it really fast. They also produce a lot of worm waste (I know, not very pleasant) that is super beneficial to the process of the compost breaking down and becoming quality fertilizer or mulch for your gardens. The most recommended worm to use is the Red Wriggler!
4. Keep It Moist
An important step in maintaining a proper compost pile or bin is to make sure that you are keeping it damp at all times. You don’t want it to be bone dry but you don’t want it to be soaking wet either, so finding that balance is crucial.
Believe it or not, there are living organisms in your compost that work to break it down! These organisms cannot survive if your compost is too dry or soaking wet. It’s a good idea to keep a spray bottle of water near your compost and give it a spray every time you add to the pile.
5. Make It Animal Proof
If you’ve got an outdoor compost pile, it’s always a good idea to make sure it’s sturdy and animal-proof. If you’re composting any type of meat scrap or fish, that may very likely attract animals that could get into your pile and make a huge mess.
To prevent that, try using sturdy building materials like wood pallets or chicken wire to animal-proof your pile!
6. Keep An Eye On Temperature
A really important tip when it comes to composting is to always keep an eye on the temperature of your compost pile. It’s really easy to just start a pile and continue to throw scraps in, never really considering the temperature at all. However, the temperature is an important part of composting correctly!
When the materials in your compost pile are broken down the process produces heat, which is necessary for the living organisms in your pile to survive and break down your compost pile properly. Proper compost temperature is a recommended 140-170 degrees Fahrenheit, and at these temperatures, the healthy bacteria in your compost should work efficiently to break down the waste!
7. Don’t Let It Liquify
A common mistake that many first-time composters make is that they let the compost get too soggy and eventually turn into a liquid-y mess. When your compost is too liquid-y, it begins to stop breaking down properly, and then you’re left with a runny compost pile that doesn’t work right.
To avoid this, make sure you are occasionally adding some cardboard or newspaper to your compost pile! These materials work to absorb some of the water that is released when fruit and vegetable scraps (which are mostly water!) are broken down and keeps your compost pile from liquefying.
8. Use It As Mulch
Many people often overlook this clever use for compost, but it makes a great mulch for your gardens! Often times compost gets mixed into garden soil to help produce amazing produce, and that’s a great way to use it.
However, it can also be used as a mulch on top of your gardens to promote healthy and amazing flowers or produce! There are several different ways to use compost, but don’t forget about as a mulch!
9. Keep Scraps Small
Another often overlooked aspect of composting is the importance of keeping your scraps small when you add them to the pile. When you have any scraps or materials to add, it’s always a good idea to break them up into smaller pieces first.
If you have materials like wood, cardboard, or paper, try and shred those or get them into small pieces as well. Having smaller scraps helps to speed up the composting process and helps keep your compost pile running smoothly!
10. Make Sure There Are Holes
If you’re using a plastic tub or container as your compost bin, it’s important to have enough holes in the bin for your compost to breathe! It’s essential to proper and effective composting for your compost to have proper airflow.
With holes in the bin, your compost pile should be able to break down waste efficiently without turning into a soggy mess. It’s a good idea to put the holes in the lid if your bin has one, or you can put them on the sides of the bin.