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What Is Composting and Why Should You Do It?

Posted By On March 07 2023
What is composting and why should you do it?

With the ever-changing world seeing a rise in prices for everything, more people are finding ways to cut back on their grocery bills and are becoming health and environmentally-minded. One way that this is happening is with people looking to grow their own food at home. 

If you want your vegetable garden to flourish, you should consider making compost. But what is compost? It’s not as simple as just letting food waste rot in a container under the kitchen sink. There is some work involved to do it properly, but once set up, it’s easy to maintain and comes with various benefits too. 

Composting is the breakdown of organic materials in an aerobic environment (through oxygen), thus creating nutrient-rich soil by decomposition.

Simply put, food waste decomposes in a container where it can “breathe” or still have access to the air flowing through it. This allows the food waste to turn into soil, which you can add to your garden, helping to replace all the nutrients lost naturally over time.

To learn more about how you can use compost to achieve a bountiful garden, keep reading below.

What are the benefits of composting?

Composting is a great way to reuse food scraps and other organic materials such as cardboard, egg shells, tea bags, and more. However, it can also be a huge environmental boost.

When we start to compost at home, we are helping the soil to regain nutrients, making it stronger and healthier. If you are not using planters, this will prevent soil erosion, which can lead to flooding and property damage.

Adding newly composted soil to planters will help feed the flowers or vegetables you are trying to grow. Thus, your crops will be even more bountiful.

The breakdown of the materials creates methane gas. In turn, this gas helps the soil and even works to put carbon back into the ground instead of in the atmosphere (which is where methane gas and carbon go when organic waste is put into landfills). So, by composting at home, you reduce what gets released into the atmosphere via landfills and repurpose it into the soil again. 

It’s also not just food waste that you can compost. Grass clippings, dead leaves in the fall, and even sticks can all be composted, adding to the nutrients of the soil.

How easy is composting?

There are two types of composting: cold and hot. Depending on your typical amount of food waste or how much time you have to dedicate to composting, either one can be a good solution. 

Cold composting will take a longer time to decompose and create good soil to use in your garden. Essentially, you let the earth do its own thing (as all matter does eventually decompose), and you just add scraps when you want to. However, this process can take one to two years to complete.

For the avid gardener, the hot method is faster, and you can have great composted soil in as little as four weeks. This does require more work, as you need to measure nitrogen, oxygen, and moisture levels. Even so, the end result is worth it.

You can start composting at home. There are a variety of compost bins that you can either make or buy to get started. First, however, you must consider the space that you have. Even small spaces can successfully compost, but choose your method carefully. 

The cold method can be smelly, whereas the hot technique causes less smell. However, the hot approach takes more work in terms of maintenance and is harder to keep up with aeration and moisture levels.

What You Can and Can’t Compost

Before you start, remember that if the compost is placed outside, it must be in a dry and shaded place. To prevent rodents from getting in, keep the holes covered if they are more than 1/4 inch wide, and put a secure lid on the top.  

If the compost is too dry, add a little moisture; it needs to be damp like a wet sponge. If it’s too wet, aerate it more and add materials such as dead leaves and twigs.

Your newly built compost pile needs to maintain a temperature of 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit to allow for decomposition. If the pile is not hot enough, add some more greens and aerate again.

Nitrogen Components

Here are some examples of nitrogen components to include in your compost:

  • Food and vegetable scraps

  • Most grass clippings

  • Coffee grounds and paper filters

  • Paper tea bags (without the staples)

  • Crushed eggshells

Carbon Components

Below are carbon components you should consider using in your compost:

  • Dry leaves and twigs

  • Plant stalks (even broccoli stalks)

  • Shredded paper, but nothing glossy

  • Shredded cardboard, without tape, glue, or staples

  • Untreated wood chips

What You Need to Avoid

Make sure to avoid adding the following things to your compost:

  • Meat, fish, and bones

  • Pet waste and cat litter

  • Fats, oils, grease, cheese, and dairy products

  • Treated or painted woods

  • Produce stickers or glossy papers

  • Diseased or infested plants, weeds, or weeds with seeds

  • Herbicide-treated plants

  • Cooked foods

  • Dryer lint

We Can Help Clear Your Garden

Composting is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment. It’s also simple to do and manage.

If you are looking to renovate your garden and need to clear it out, then reach out to Scarborough Disposal Ltd.

With a dumpster rental in Yorkville, we can remove your soil for you, allowing you to clear out the space you need to remake your garden. Our 4-yard bins are ideal for garden renovations and easy to rent, with drop-off and pick-up dates to fit your schedule.

Call our friendly and expert team today at 416-265-7979 or contact us here. Let’s get started on helping you create your dream garden!

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