Composting is a wonderful thing you can do to bring your garden to the next level. This “black gold” soil is made from decomposing kitchen scraps. It is super nutrient rich and used to boost the soil in your garden. Not only is composting good for your garden, but it is great for the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, organic material accounts for more than 20% of the waste in landfills. Think of composting as recycling for your food waste. While the process may be intimidating to start, it is actually pretty intuitive and difficult to mess up. If you would like to give composting a try, here are a few composting mistakes you will want to avoid. Learn from the mistakes of others, so you don’t have to experience them yourself!
Composting the Wrong Materials
Some of the easiest composting mistakes to avoid involve what you should and should not add to your composting pile. Most compost piles contain fruits, veggies, egg shells, produce peels, tea bags, coffee grounds, news papers, cardboard, paper, and leaves. These organic materials are easy and safe to decompose. While most kitchen scraps can be safely composted there are a few things that should be avoided. Animal products, like meat scraps, dairy products, bones, or animal waste, should typically be avoided. They take longer to decompose and can breed harmful pathogens in your composting pile. And while it is okay to add organic packing materials, like cardboard egg cartons or paper bags, adding non-organic packing materials such as plastic or glass would be a big composting mistake.
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Not Enough Cover
Don’t make the composting mistake of leaving your compost pile out in the open. Covering your compost pile will be more beneficial than you may realize. The biggest benefit of covering your food scraps is that it contains the smell. This will not only make it easier on you, but it will deter unwanted pests such as fruit flies, raccoons, rodents, and bears from lurking near your compost. To insure that you have adequate coverage on your food scraps consider using the “lasagna method”. This means that you layer food scraps (typically called green material) and dry scraps (typically called brown material). You can keep your food scraps in a separate container until you have enough brown material to completely cover your green material. Not only does adequate cover contain the smell, but it will also help your food scraps break down faster and more efficiently.
Not Enough Diversity
Although not having diversity in your compost won’t necessarily hurt, it definitely will not help. One of the benefits of composting is that it is so nutrient rich. This is largely due to the fact that such a variety of fruits and vegetables are contained in your compost pile. Without diversity of food scraps, you will not get the diversity of nutrients. To avoid this composting mistake you should review a comprehensive list of things to compost. You may be surprised at how much you can add to your pile.
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Keeping a Wet Compost Pile
There are a few composting mistakes that can lead to your compost pile being too wet. Not adding enough brown material to your compost pile is an easy composting mistake to make. Your brown material can consist of paper coffee filters, raked leaves, newspapers, and cardboard containers. Having dry brown material is a crucial part of composting, because it balances the wet green material decomposing. As the green material breaks down the brown material can absorb lots of the moisture to keep your pile from becoming “soupy”. Another common composting mistake is believing you need to need to finely chop all your green material. While it is not advised throw whole fruits and vegetables into your pile, you don’t need to dice them either. If the green material is finely chopped, it doesn’t leave much space for the air pockets that are needed to aid in decomposition.
Composting can be beneficial for your garden as well as the environment. Everybody can have a successful compost pile, so don’t let these common composting mistakes hold you back any longer.