Monday, May 31, 2010

Composting 101 - Your guide to composting at home

Composting is a natural process in which organic matter is broken down with the help of micro-organisms, air and water. The resulting soil-like product is a nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be used in gardens and flower beds.

Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of household waste your family produces. Fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells and even tea bags can be composed. Yard waste, including leaves and dry grass clippings, can also be included.

To start your own backyard compost, begin with a commercial composting unit (often found at garden centres) or make your own. Cover the floor of the composter with a layer of branches to help with air circulation and drainage. Next, alternate a layer of wet waste with a layer of dry waste. To speed up the composting process, top the pile with garden soil or compost starter. The composting process can take anywhere from two months to two years. You'll know when your compost is ready to be used when it is dark in colour, crumbly in texture and has an earthy smell.

Source: CAA Magazine, Summer of 2010.

For instructions on building your own composter and more composting tips, click here to visit the Compost Council of Canada's website....