Regenerative Economy

Published on May 29th, 2019 | by GrowWNYAdmin

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Composting

By GardenLifePro

Composting may be the single greatest contribution anyone can make to a garden. Compost rejuvenates garden soil, enriching it with essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.

City of Buffalo Launches Composting Program this Summer

Creating compost can also cut down on kitchen waste and is a productive way to recycle not just grass clippings and dry leaves, but leftover fruits, veggies, coffee grounds, tea bags, egg and nut shells. Because of its enormous environmental benefits, some cities are launching programs that promotes composting to its residents.

One spectacular example is happening in the City of Buffalo. It follows a successful program last year, when the city partnered with the Massachusetts Avenue Project and launched a pilot program. People were able to drop off their food waste, and as a result, nearly 2,000 pounds of food waste were kept out of landfills. This year, the program is taken to another level by partnering with the city to have five drop-off locations now instead of one! (See flyer above for drop-off locations!)

How To Compost

Anyone can create their own fertilizer from compost. Designate a corner of the yard or a container to keep organic materials while they break down. For composting piles outside, include grass clippings, dried leaves, wood shavings, and mulch. The more variety of materials, the faster the materials will break down as the materials interact.

Every few weeks, turn the contents of the pile with a garden rake or shovel. Kitchen waste can also be incorporated into an outdoor compost pile, but keep in mind that food may attract unwanted animals. Do not add weeds, diseased plants, or anything that has been chemically treated to the composting pile. After a few months, the compost ingredients will deteriorate completely, leaving behind a rich organic fertilizer the garden will love!

For city dwellers or those who do not have the yard space for an outdoor composting pile, compost can be made indoors, as well. Place a container somewhere it will be convenient to add kitchen waste but is also out of the way enough that unpleasant odors do not permeate the house. Make sure the container is airtight with a lid that fits appropriately.

Drill holes about one inch from the top of the container and space the holes about three inches apart. It is important that the composting container facilitate good air-flow, as oxygen is necessary to the process. Toss in eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peelings, newspaper, and used paper towels. Once every few weeks, toss around the contents of the compost container and add a few drops of water as needed. Compost should always be damp, but never soggy. After 3 to 4 months, most of the contents should be broken down into a fertilizer that can be added to the garden.

Vermicomposting

Earthworms are the gardener’s best friend, naturally manufacturing a fertilizer through a process called vermicomposting. Vermicomposting refers to the process in which worms eat organic materials and produce waste that acts as an organic fertilizer rich in nutrients. Worms can be added to composting piles both outdoors and indoors to help facilitate vermicomposting. Worm farms are another great way to produce organic fertilizer through vermicomposting.

Take a large container with a lid and add 2 cups of soil, 1 cup of worms, and newspaper. Drill holes along the top and keep it in a safe place, such as under the kitchen sink. Add kitchen waste such as tea and coffee grounds, potato peels, and paper towels. Avoid items with sharp edges or abrasive materials because worms have especially delicate skins. In 3 to 4 months, the composting materials will have been consumed by the worms and converted into rich fertilizer. Read more about worm farms and how they can be used in vermicomposting.

Composting is a great way to naturally nourish garden soil. Anyone can make a composting pile, indoors, outdoors, and with or without the help of worms. Consider the benefits of this environmentally-friendly process and start composting today!

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