We post many links, articles, and opportunities for supporting conservation out in the field. Of course, much of it begins at home, and occasionally people ask what steps they can take in their own backyard to support our conservation mission. Volunteer Angelique Scarpa put together a blog post with some basic composting tips. Composting helps the environment in more ways than simply keeping food waste out of landfills and helping you grow your own food at home. It also helps reduce the needs for fertilizer, helps prevent erosion, and helps conserve water (a layer of compost helps soil retain moisture). Read on for Angelique’s tips on getting started:
By Angelique Scarpa
This picture was taken a week or so ago when we still had snow sitting on top of everything. I have become a somewhat recent convert of composting. I love it. It makes me feel less wasteful. I love knowing I can throw food scraps in there all year long and in a few month’s time it will turn into rich, nourishing nutrients for any garden. The book “The Green Gardener: Working With Nature, Not Against It” by Brenda Little helped get me started on my composting journey.
This compost bin was in my yard when I moved in a few years ago, and I have made good use of it. I believe it is called an Earth Machine. You can look up your town and the composters that are available for purchase here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dep/recycle/reduce/binprogs.pdf
Once you have a compost bin, what do you put in it? Avoid putting any meat or animal products in there (including cheese, milk, or pet litter), although egg shells are fine. I put in tea bags, unused herbs, coffee grounds, egg shells, banana peels, apple cores, rotten fruit, and cooked pasta, rice and bread that I never got around to eating! Try to remember to remove the stickers from fruit peels as they do not compost very well. I learned that the hard way. Shredded newspapers also work well as a contribution to compost, as long as you do not include glossy magazine paper. You should stir the compost somewhat periodically with a shovel or a rake to avoid fly infestation. If you are living in a cold area during a frigid winter, don’t worry about stirring the compost. It will be frozen solid, and you will have to wait until the spring to stir it-and that’s okay!
What my compost looks like now:
If you enjoyed Angelique’s post she has a nature blog over at The Nature of Things but she hopes to become a more regular contributor here, too. We’re looking forward to it!