I have wanted to compost for a long time and even had some meager attempts at doing it years ago when I lived with my parents. But, without having my own place for so long I never really owned it like I should have to make it successful. Plus, I got caught up in the seeming complication of it. Like I often do, I felt like I couldn't do it perfectly so I was paralyzed to do anything at all.
Now I'm in a house and working toward some homesteading practices I have been dreaming about to keep our family healthy, sustainable and frugal. I found the Living Homegrown Podcast to start learning a little before jumping in. The episode on Composting 101 pushed me—succeed or fail—to just start. So while I'm no expert, here's what I've been doing.
TURN IT // Give It Some Air
I have a good size backyard, so I decided to stop worrying about what container to put my compost in and just start a pile by my back fence. Every week or so I go turn my pile over to loosen it up to make sure it has air. I wasn't sure if my pile was starting to smell a little funny when I approached (which means things are out of wack), but was encouraged by the deep earthly smell I caught wind of when I flipped the bottom of my pile over.
BROWN LAYER IT // Give It Some Carbon
While I used to worry that I needed to source some herbiside-free hay, I realized I had tons of brown (carbon) stuff all around the house. I was able to collect plenty of dead leaves, twigs, shedding Crape Myrtle bark, (even corrugated cardboard!) etc. from around my property.
GREEN LAYER IT // Give It Some Nitrogen
Throughout the week I keep my food scraps in a container in the fridge. Soon enough I will invest in a countertop odor-free bin, but for now this system seems to work. I dump them, along with grass clippings and other green stuffs on top of the brown layer. Apparently the ratio of brown to green should be about 7:1. Odor is a giveaway that this ratio may not be quite right, so I'm keeping that in mind. But honestly, I'm not worrying too much about that right now.
DIRT LAYER IT
I finish by piling dirt on top, usually just covering up the food scraps.
Depending on how dry the pile looks or what the rain-prediction is for the week I will soak the compost with water.
What about all you real food growers out there? Any compost tips I need as I figure this thing out?
Hi. I'm Suzanna.
I like running outside, eating real food and crafting beautiful images. I am captivated by documenting everyday life–revealing what authentic, adventurous and lovers of life we all are.