Starting your first compost

In our series on gardening, we’ve looked at why planting a vegetable garden might be a great idea this year, but how to get started? Well it’s actually not as complicated as it might seem. It really depends on the scale of gardening your thinking might work well for your particular situation. But whatever the scale, one element you should definitely consider is composting. 

I know, I know. You’re probably thinking “GROSS!” and remembering of all the composts you encountered in your lifetime. You know the ones I’m talking about; they were stinky, swarming with bugs, probably made with wooden pallets, and threatening to spill rotting yuk all over the yard. 

But composting has come an awful long way since we were young! Urban composting is definitely more of a thing than I realized when I started looking into this for myself. I was shocked to find modern and attractive designs for both indoor (yes, indoor!) and outdoor composting that promise to prevent stink and create incredible soil for your houseplants or vegetable garden. 

For a very long time I’ve been on the eww-gross side of the composting debate. If I’d have had a neighbour with a compost I would have anticipated stink and bugs and critters and would have completely overlooked any of the benefits they brought to the table, but now that I know what those benefits are, I feel compelled to share them.

1)    REDUCE YOUR KITCHEN WASTE Kitchen Composting Bin

This point has got to be my top reason for adopting composting. The world isn’t getting any smaller, and the landfills aren’t getting any less… full. Composting is a great way to reduce your contribution to the issue society is facing as far as what to do with all the waste we produce. Personally, I have seen a decrease in garbage bags going out to the corner, especially if I have a week with lots of cooking, and it makes me feel good to know that I’m reducing my waste production a bit. I know I’m not going to single-handedly save the planet (I’ll refrain from buying myself that superhero cape for now), but it’s something small I can do, so why not?

2)    CREATE HEALTHY SOIL  composting soil

A few months ago I watched the documentary called Kiss the Ground and it left me shook (it’s on Netflix for now, and I highly recommend it). In this sweeping exploration of the condition of the world’s usable soil narrated by Woody Harrelson, it explained how fruits and vegetables get the nutrients they need from the quality of the soil they are grown in and that their nutrients are then passed on to us. Apparently, due to pesticides and the same crops being planted on the same soil over and over creating a lack of diversity in the microorganisms needed to maintain soil quality, there hasn’t been high levels of nutrients to start with in much of the produce you’re buying from the grocery store. But you know what creates extremely healthy soil? Composting! If the nutritional aspect of a veggie garden appeals to you at all, then composting is definitely the most cost-effective way to produce high-quality soil for your garden to produce high-quality fruit and vegetables for you.

3)    LESS EXPENSIVE Store Bought Composting

Depending on the size of the bag you get, composted organic soil can range anywhere from five to twenty bucks a bag, so filling your garden with composted soil is definitely not cheap. Some larger backyard gardens can take up to fifteen large bags of soil to get your garden up and running! Composting is a wonderful way to create nutrient rich soil inexpensively, because once you have the composter you simply fill it with kitchen waste (with the exception of animal products), untreated paper garbage, yard scraps, and give it time. 

Some composters take a year, while some can take a few months, but regardless of how long it takes, at the end of the process is free, nutrient-dense, environmentally friendly soil just waiting to feed your garden of flowers or produce.    

At home compost binI know this sounds a bit weird, but when I bought my composter, I was legitimately excited. I thought the enthusiasm might wear off, but I am still pumped every time I take my little bucket of kitchen waste outside. And I cannot wait until I have some useable soil! It’s a weird rotting-garbage enthusiasm that I hope I have passed on to you. 

Maybe having kids has given me a bit of a soft spot for environmental issues and an interest in ways I can do my part despite how busy I always find myself. I know all parents want to leave their children with an inheritance, but what good is money if there is no drinkable water or useable soil? 

Or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. I am always so busy with work, that it feels weird to just go outside. What am I supposed to do out there? Sit? Sweep the patio?

Or maybe I’m just getting old. 

What Can you compost?

Here is a quick guide as to what you can and can't compost.

Things You Can And Can't Compost

Posted by Corey Sylvester on


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