I wanted to compost for a really, really long time before I actually got started. I had several hesitations, the biggest one being I didn’t know how to get started. Several people ask me about the basics, so I thought I’d put together a handy, very simple guide to composting for beginners.
I was overwhelmed with all the information out there, so I thought I’d break it down into three steps. If I can do it, I promise you can, too! Looking back, I wish I’d started sooner.
Why Should You Compost?
There are a million reasons why I love composting. If you don’t mind me getting super nerdy, I’d love to tell you a little about what’s so great. Compost is a beautiful and natural resource. When I say beautiful, I mean it — you should see my soil! It adds nutrients back into the earth and promotes excellent root growth. Using a compost also means using fewer chemicals and fertilizers on your plants. In fact, your compost will have tons of nutrients that can’t be found in over-the-counter products, which means it will already be more pest tolerant and will be incredibly fertile.
If everyone composted it would mean less garbage in landfills, and a major reduction of greenhouse gases. I’ve talked before about how composting cut our trash in half. We’re saving the earth, people!
If you’re convinced, let’s get started. I can talk about composting forever, but luckily for you I’ve condensed it into three easy steps.
Composting for Beginners
1. Location, Location, Location
You need to designate an outdoor space for your compost. Take some time to decide how far you are willing to walk to take out your daily or weekly compost and choose a space that gives you access to both water and sunlight. Composting doesn’t take up much space at all, you will only need approximately three square feet of space at the very most. I keep mine on the side of my yard, near the water hose!
2. To Turn or Not to Turn
Decide how much elbow grease you want to dedicate to your compost. Compost piles work automatically, but they work even faster if you “turn” them. Don’t be scared…This just means you have to get the soil from the bottom to the top! If you don’t mind some elbow grease, you can use a bin that simply contains the compost. When it’s time to turn it, you use a shovel or tiller to stir it up.
This is the type of compost bin I use outside. It sits directly on the ground to give access to worms, water, etc. It’s a workout for me to turn it effectively because I’m a little on the short side and I can’t get leverage on the shovel. However, I just do the best I can and my compost still works its magic.
If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, a tumbler is the way to go. These make it super easy to turn the compost because you simply spin the bin. Seems easy enough!
3. Inside Out
Get an indoor bin to make it easy to collect kitchen scraps. If you plan on taking out your compost every day or two, you can keep a bin under your sink. If you think it might be a once a week type thing, get this compost collector to put in your freezer so you don’t have to worry about smell!
Let me know if you have any questions on composting for beginners. Next time I’ll show you how to set up your outdoor bin and how to give it the attention it needs to turn your scraps into compost soil. Stay tuned!