Turning Food Waste into Nature's Bounty!
Basic Composting Techniques for Home and Apartment Dwellers.
This site provides easy methods to convert your food waste back into healthy fertilizer for lush plants and abundant gardens. Composting is the method of breaking down food waste so it gets turned back into natural healthy soil. There are many different ways to compost. Some can be done indoors or on a balcony, and some should only be done outdoors. Compost is very important for a healthy environment because it returns nutrients back into the soil. When a plant grows it takes nutrients from the soil. Those nutrients must be returned or the soil will lose its fertility. Artificial fertilizers slowly kill the soil and make it unusable. Natural fertilizers like compost keep soils healthy.
Imagine a natural forest. No one fertilizes a forest. So how does the soil stay fertile for many tens of thousands of years? The answer is compost. Leaves, branches, trees, plants, insects and animals all die and fall to the forest floor. There all the bugs, fungi and bacteria convert them back into healthy soil. A perfect circle. In just the same way, when we compost our organic waste and return it to the soil, we complete the circle.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil_food_web. This is an excellent article on the "soil food web" which is the basic science of healthy organic soils. This will give you the background information on why composting is so important for healthy soil.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_soil. This is a great introduction to general soil science.
http://goo.gl/GiQFB. This web site has lots of great information about the basic science of healthy organic soil.
Home Composting Tips:
* Mix in enough carbon materials with the food waste. Carbon materials include dry brown leaves, shredded paper, wood chips, straw, etc. Use about 2 or 3 times more carbon material than food waste.
(Note: With worm composting, you do not need to mix in carbon materials. The worms eat the food waste so carbon materials are not needed.)
* Use the right balance of Air, Water, Food waste and Carbon materials. Proper composting needs all of these in the right balance.
* Composting is done by billions of tiny bacteria and they need the right balance of air, water, food and carbon materials in order to thrive, multiply and eat all the food waste.
* In general, make sure your compost doesn't get too wet. Especially if you're doing indoor composting. Imagine a wet sponge that when you squeeze it only a drop or two of water come out; that's about 40-45% moisture. That is about the moisture level you want in your compost.
* Worm compost is different and needs to be kept more moist. About 80% moisture is good.
* If possible, chop the leaves, food waste, fruit peels and vegetable peels into small pieces. This will help them compost faster. You can use scissors to cut the leaves.
* Visit www.dailydump.org to find lots of great info on composting at your home or apartment. If you live in India, www.dailydump.org will list locations where you can purchase their wonderful home compost systems. Visit them!
* If dogs are around, make sure to put your compost system in a place where dogs can't bother it.
* Its OK, to compost egg shells, but meat should not be used. Be careful when composting fish bones because they can be sharp.
* If possible, start purchasing organic foods to support organic farmers.
* When you become good at home composting, then reach out and teach it to your children and your neighbors. Show them how easy it is to compost and live in harmony with Mother Nature! Its a great way to build a strong feeling of connection to the natural world.
* Here's a great article on the many benefits of home composting. Home composting helps keep valuable organic material from going to waste in a landfill.
Remember! Anything organic like leaves, sticks, food waste and paper are a resource! Don't think of them as waste to just throw out and put in a landfill. Think of them as valuable resources that can easily be converted to nutritious compost. Doing this raises our awareness of how nature works and how we must help nature.
Global warming is now becoming a big problem for all of us. In addition to making healthy soil, composting is a great way to help slow global warming. How? When people throw food waste and organic materials into a landfill, it breaks down improperly and releases lots of methane. Methane is an even more dangerous and powerful greenhouse gas then carbon dioxide. So by composting at home you're keeping lots of methane out of the atmosphere.