In these uncertain times you may find yourself spending more time at home instead of traveling and eating out at your favorite restaurants. A great way to use leftover food waste from the kitchen is to make your own compost.
Making your own compost is a great way to enrich your soil and put fresh vegetables on your table this summer.
Dig a trench, build a “raised bed, or use a container to create your compost.
- Add a few inches of soil to the bottom.
- Create a layer of small twigs broken up and evenly spaced apart.
- Next use grass clippings from mowing your lawn or other trimmings to create a layer of “green organics”. As an additional option, any scraps created in the kitchen can be added to the “green organics” layer of the compost starter. From leftover food, to peeled fruits and vegetables, fat removed from beef and chicken. Most garbage created in the kitchen can be used, but there are a few exceptions.
- Lastly, create a surface layer on the top using dead leaves and other types of brown organics.
- As an option you can just keep all your materials in your container and make compost in there, but it is the slowest method for making compost, taking up to three years to finish.
If you plan to have red worms eat and break down your compost some items from the kitchen should not be added. Onions, meat and any leftovers with citric acid should not be added as they harm worms and make the breakdown of your compost take much longer. If only heat and decomposition are used, most items accumulated in the kitchen can be added to the “green organic” layer. Store organic food waste in a separate container to cut down on the smell and reduce clean up.
Once the cooler is filled, we can take these layers out and lay them into the trench or box we have set up. Before covering, it’s recommended to add water to the compost pile until the surface is damp and feels like a wrung-out dish cloth. Once this is done simply add another few inches of soil to the top.
After three months you will have fresh home-made compost ready for use. Occasionally remove the top layer of soil, re-wet the compost and mix it a bit to allow fresh air in then cover it back up with the soil layer again. Allowing air in once a month speeds up the process resulting in the more effective creation of compost.
Once your compost is ready to use, simply remove the top layer of soil, mix it all up and add it to your potted (or unpotted) plants. This gives your plants nutrition healthier growth.
Neutralize Your Soil
Have a lot of egg shells that are thrown away every day? Egg shells are mostly calcium, and calcium can be used to help neutralize the soil from acidic back to alkaline. If you are planting berries, don’t mess with the acid content of the soil. If you are concerned about the PH level of your soil a PH tester can be purchased and they are very inexpensive.
Take your egg shells, and either wash them or just put them in the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. You don’t want to put Salmonella into your plants you plan to eat, so clean or heat up the shells to kill it. Take your baked shells and put them in a blender to break them down as close to a powder as you can. Then simply spread the “powdered” shells over the soil near your plants. This will help reduce the acid content and increase the growth rate of many vegetables.