Natural Gardening



Seasonal Considerations for Composting

Most composting is done in the spring and summer months.  The reason is that heat is such an important element to the process.  Even though the compost process itself generates heat, the warmth from the weather certainly helps everything along. 

Most composts goes dormant in the winter months and start-up again with the spring thaw and warmer temperatures.  But if you live in a milder climate that does not get harsh winters, there is a way to continue to compost during the winter months.

You can create an insulated compost bin.  Using a plastic garbage can dig a hole big and deep enough to put at least six inches of the can underground.  Use a natural insulating material such as straw and pack it around the base and up the sides of the can.  Continue to compost as you would at any other time of the year.

Even though this method will still work in the winter months, the speed at which the material will decompose will still be slowed down.  Winter composting will allow you to continue recycling your kitchen scraps throughout the colder months and you may even have compost at the beginning of spring to use in your garden.

The spring and fall are the best times to collect leaves to start a new compost bin.  In the spring, the leaves you collect have already started to decompose as they stayed wet and insulated throughout the winter.  It doesn’t matter though if you collect your leaves in either season – they are the perfect base for a new compost pile.  If you are using dry
leaves from the fall, consider putting them through a chipper of some kind.  If they are smaller and already cut up it will aid in the whole composting system.


The Best Food for your Compost Bin

There are some rules to learn and follow about what you can put into your compost bin in order to keep your pile healthy and working properly.  The most widespread organic material that you will add to your compost will be kitchen scraps.  The kitchen scraps are
considered green food that you feed to your compost as they contain nitrogen – an essential element to the process.

It is a good idea to have a container with an airtight lid to store the food waste in your kitchen.  You do not want to attract insects or pests inside your home nor do you want to be running to your compost bin every time you make a meal or snack.  If your kitchen container is airtight you will also cut down on unpleasant odors.

Here is a list of the most commonly used compost items from the kitchen:

* Vegetable peels and seeds
* Fruit peels, cores, and seeds
* Coffee grounds – you can compost the paper filter too
* Tea bags or loose tea leaves
* Crushed egg shells – do not add left-over eggs cooked or raw
* Breads

You may be tempted to add other food scraps into the bin, but don’t.  You should not add any animal meat or bones, oily products, or fish remains not only will they be sure to attract unwanted pests but they will make your compost smell badly.  Whenever you are adding your green food to the compost bin, make sure you cover it under a thick layer of brown food (yard waste or other carbon producing agent such as dry leaves, wood chips, sawdust, or small twigs).

If your food scraps are very wet or moist, in addition to putting brown food on top of the scraps mix some in with the waste too.  This will enable better air circulation.



Herbs by the Ounce
at Years to Your Health

Nathaniel Hawthorne
"I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.  It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green."  ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from and Old Manse