To decrease our carbon footprint, home cooks should consider home composting.
Benefits to home composting include not only reducing your carbon footprint, but also growing a better home vegetable garden. Composting is the process of controlling the decomposition of organic matter by providing the proper environment for the process to take place.
Devices can be purchased to start your composting project, such as this metal container with holes in the top to allow the material to breath during the decomposition process.
These are relatively inexpensive, but not necessary. A good compose pit can be just a loose pile or old pallets stacked in a square. Just allow 1 cubic yard by 1 cubic meter for mixing space.
Start you compost pile with some twigs or loose straw, to provide a base. Then start adding your organic material. A good compost pile includes different types of organic material for best results.
From the kitchen, scraps,fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds or tea leaves are ideal “green” material. You will also need “brown” material, such as dead leaves, sawdust, straw, paper towels, brown bags or egg shells.
The compost pile must be turned periodically to allow all the organic matter to mix together, achieved with a shovel or pitchfork. Make sure the compost pile stays damp, but not wet, similar texture to a wet sponge that has been rung out. A “healthy” compost pile should be warm to the touch, but not hot. The pile can be kept warm with a cover such as wood, plastic sheeting or carpet scraps – anything to prevent over watering and retain heat, between turnings. A compost or soil starter is not necessary but could help induce the decomposition process. If your compost seems to be decomposing at a slow rate, it could be low in nitrogen. Adding more “green” material will increase the nitrogen levels.
No bones, pet or human waste, meat or fatty foods should be put in the compost bin. Do not include any yard or grass trimmings treated with herbicides or pesticides. Healthy compost can improve your potted plants or vegetable garden. Organic compost can help breakdown heavy clay soil and help retain nutrients in sandy soil. Just add your compost to your garden a few weeks before planting to adapt to your soil. I plan to keep a small compost pile in the backyard and applying as an addictive to my herb garden this spring. Do you compost food from the kitchen? If so, leave me comments about your initiative to reduce your carbon footprint.
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