If you have a garden, you have to compost. That’s all there is to it. It is simply the easiest, cheapest, greenest, and most effective way to make your veggies thrive. On our homestead each garden has its own compost so that we don’t end up fighting over the finished product. There’s just never enough to go around! (Can you imagine fighting over cow poop? It’s not my proudest moment, but it has happened.)
I know composting can be intimidating with words like microorganisms, nitrogen, alkaline, soil amendments, and teas—but it doesn’t have to be. You could buy a compost bin or tumbler, which is a small investment and provides a relatively easy solution. They’re also a good option for small and/or urban yards.
However, we use a version of this most basic compost.
Easiest Composting Method Ever
Step 1: Choose a general area that is close to your garden.
Step 2: Toss your food and garden scraps in the general area.
That’s it! You now have a functioning compost. You have created what is called a “cold pile,” which means that it’s not expected to heat up inside. Your compost will likely take around a year to finish, especially in cooler climates. To help things go smoothly, here are a few other suggestions.
Add fats (grease, butter, oils).
Add carnivore/omnivore feces (cats, dogs, human).
Aerate (turn/mix) your compost occasionally.
Add both “greens” (food waste, fresh grass clippings, manure) and “browns” (dry clippings, wood shavings, newspaper, straw).
Leave your pile to finish while starting another nearby.
Chop/shred components before adding.
Keep compost moist, but not soggy.
Compost is finished when all the parts are crumbly, beautiful, black dirt. Go ahead and use it as a potting soil or straight into your garden beds! It’s the best way to keep your garden healthy and to build its most essential asset—the soil. Also, not only is food waste one of the biggest components of our landfills (apparently a third of food is never eaten). It is also a massive emitter of methane gas, which is a more warming greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Yup, re-purposing that waste into an agricultural asset seems like an obvious solution. On the positive side, there is every reason to do it at home.