How to Compost Using Only What You Find Around Your Home
Composting is a great way to reduce waste and create rich fertilizer for your garden. With a little effort, you can make compost using common household items and yard scraps. Here’s how to get started composting using materials you likely already have at home:
Gather Your Composting Materials
The key to successful composting is having the right balance of “greens” and “browns.” Greens provide nitrogen and moisture, while browns provide carbon and air pockets. Here are some common materials to use:
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Tea bags
- Fresh grass clippings
- Garden trimmings
- Dried leaves
- Shredded newspaper
- Paper towel rolls
- Egg cartons
- Small branches and twigs
It’s ideal to have a 2:1 ratio of browns to greens. So for every 2 buckets of browns, add 1 bucket of greens.
Choose a Composting Method
There are a few different composting methods to try using household materials:
You can make a simple compost bin out of an old trash can or wire fencing. Drill holes in the sides and bottom for aeration. Layer your materials, making sure to water if the contents get dry. Turning the pile occasionally will speed decomposition.
Find a shady spot in your yard and build your pile directly on the ground. Layer greens and browns as described above. Cover with a tarp to retain moisture. Use a pitchfork to turn the pile every 7-10 days.
Dig trenches between garden rows or beds. Fill with compost materials, cover with soil, and let decompose over time. When the trench is full, dig a new one.
Composting with worms is an easy way to compost indoors. Keep worms in a ventilated plastic bin, feed them your food scraps, and harvest their nutrient-rich castings.
Maintain Your Compost
Aerate the pile by turning it or stirring it with a pitchfork periodically. This allows air circulation.
Mix new materials into the center of the pile, where temperatures are highest.
Moisten the materials if they become dried out. Compost should feel damp but not sopping wet.
Harvest finished compost from the bottom and sides of the pile once materials are dark, crumbly, and earthy-smelling. This can take 2-6 months depending on your method.
With a little bit of effort, you can turn household “trash” into garden treasure! Composting is one of the most rewarding sustainable living practices.