In saying “Dummies” I am referring to myself and if I can compost, anyone can!
You see it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Let’s take the example of eating a banana:
1) Eat banana
2) Put banana skin into kitchen compost bin (instead of regular household waste bin)
3) When full, transfer contents of kitchen compost bin into larger composter in the garden and hey presto!
Alternatively, skip step 2) and put banana skin straight into the garden composter (as my daughter is showing you here!)
I can’t profess to know the whole science behind composting – people have written entire books on the subject so there isn’t the space to go into it all now – but what I do know is that with the amount of fruit and vegetables we go through as a family in a week it would be rude NOT to compost.
So how did I get into composting? Well, I used to think that it was okay to throw banana peels, etc. into the household waste as surely they would just decompose naturally and go back to the earth, etc. However, I came across an article one day which basically said that when left to rot on landfill (instead of in a composter) that fruit and vegetable waste would give off harmful greenhouse gases which in turn harm our much-needed ozone layer! In a nutshell, with heaps of other junk on top of it, the fruit/vegetable waste does not have enough oxygen to decompose in a “good” way, the good organisms then die and a different set of organisms take over instead which give off harmful by-products which include carbon dioxide and methane. As carbon dioxide and methane are greenhouse gases they are thus very bad for the environment and subsequently “us”. As science isn’t my strong point this is admittedly a VERY basic “composting for dummies” guide – but I do know that I don’t want to contribute to the build-up of greenhouse gases if this is easily avoidable.
If this has inspired you at all to get composting then all you need is:
– A small compost bin for the kitchen (optional to avoid having to constantly traipse to the garden!)
– A larger compost bin for the garden
– Lots of peel/skin from yummy fruit and vegetables to put in it
You can get some really stylish compost bins these days to complement all types of internal decor/gardens and there are also bins to suit all budgets and spaces. You could even try making your own- (if you paid attention in woodwork class :-)) but I’ll save that for another post!
I personally invested in a kitchen compost crock from Lakeland (pictured) which was just under £20 (you can get these anywhere) and a wooden beehive type composter (also pictured) for the garden as we only have a small space and a big “obvious” composter wouldn’t have suited. As it happens no-one even knows it is a composter- it is a lovely feature in itself and very discrete tucked away in the corner of our garden (that’s not my garden in the pic unfortunately!!). I’m pretty sure I got mine for about £80 from an ebay seller (but this was a few years back and I don’t recall exact details). I know you can get these from various retailers and a simple google search should come up with a composter that will suit your taste and budget.
At present I don’t do very much with the compost we generate – I just regularly add fresh loads of old fruit and vegetable waste and miraculously there is always enough space in the garden compost bin – how clever Mother Nature is!!
A tip to aid the composting process would be to remember to add amounts of “brown” to the mix- i.e. crumpled up cardboard, shredded paper, screwed up newspaper, etc. as this helps encourage the “good” decomposition with oxygen. Mixing or turning the heap every so often will also help to speed up the process – but to be honest I hardly ever do this – it seems the worms who have moved into the composter are doing this for us! There are so many benefits to composting that I hope I have inspired someone out there with this initial introduction to give it a go. More information will follow in a “part 2” at some point.