The American family is thinking more and more seriously about living healthy lives, cooking at home, and doing their part to nurture the planet. More cooking means kitchen garbage just keeps growing. Instead of dumping it all into landfills, conscientious homeowners are diverting organic waste to their gardens to return precious nutrients to the soil. For those who have always just bought a bag of fertilizer from a home improvement store, our real estate agents offer a few tips to help you try something new.
- Learn to Recognize Appropriate Materials
You might think that you can just throw any garbage into a compost pile, but there's a little more to it than that. Some items are intuitive, such as vegetable peels, fruits, and coffee grounds. Some items you shouldn't include may surprise you, such as meat, dairy products, and fish, as they attract pests and even diseases. Several non-profit organizations offer extensive lists of dos and don'ts for your benefit.
- Decide How to House Your Compost
For outdoor composting, you have two options. You can create a pile if there is a convenient area of your property that doesn't create an eyesore, or you can use a bin. A pile will provide you with easy access to turn the compost periodically with a shovel. A bin contains the compost, eliminating rain and wind disruption to the pile. It can be open or lidded, as you prefer. The lid may speed up the process by holding heat and moisture in the mixture. If there is no room on the exterior of your property for a compost area, indoor compost bins are also a possibility. Special bins are available through your favorite hardware or garden store that will guard against odors and pests.
- Learn How to Mix Materials
The best compost is comprised equally of green and brown materials, which should be placed in the bin in layers. Brown materials are the leaves and branches clipped in the landscaping process. Green materials are the grass and food scraps. They should be layered in a one-to-one ratio in the bin or pile. If you should have more brown material than green, you can boost the nitrogen in your mixture by adding a 10-10-10 fertilizer to the mix.
- Aerate the Mixture
To accelerate the composting process, you will need to break apart large items and mix them with the grass and smaller materials. This will allow the bacteria to attack more surface area to maximize the chemical action. Oxygen is critical to the process as well. Ensure all materials can access the oxygen they require by turning the pile every two weeks. Be patient and wait two weeks to give the inside of the pile time to work before incorporating materials from the outer edges.
- Balance the Moisture
The correct amount of moisture is critical to a good compost pile. Too dry, and the process will slow down. Too wet, and the materials will compact. Too much water and the air cannot reach the materials. In either case, the oxygen is hindered from doing its job. It's easy to add more water when necessary, but to eliminate the water-to-material ratio, you may have to add more dry debris.
Once your compost pile is functioning properly, your landscaping projects will thrive, thanks to an endless supply of nutrients to feed the soil. If you're looking for a place to plant a lovely new garden, look to some of the Wichita homes for sale. When you're ready to take that next step toward homeownership, contact us for assistance.