Published by Ashley Palmer.

The following article was written by Carissa Leventis-Cox of Mama in the Kitchen, and she ain’t cookin’!

After four years of experimenting, I have found the cheapest, easiest, and kindest way to compost. And lucky for you, I’m going to let you in on my secret. But before we get started, did you know the following facts?

  • Sixty-five percent of what we throw away can be composted.
  • North America throws away enough food yearly to feed the country of Canada.
  • We throw about 660 pounds of food per person each year.
  • Good organic rubbish buried 3 feet deep in landfills does not turn into soil because it does not decompose.
  • A banana peel takes three to four weeks to decompose outdoors on the ground, but it will never decompose in a landfill because it lacks oxygen, bacteria, and earthworms.

Don’t be intimidated by my composting process, as no fancy or useless gadgets are involved and not much involvement is required. Just a pitchfork and a small garden are necessary (if that). Check it out:

  1. Choose any spot in your garden for your compost pile. Mine are camouflaged all over my yard.
  2. Place some surrounding soil (adds bacteria and microbes), your browns (dried leaves and paper), and pieces of greens (grass, leaves, yard trimming, coffee with filters, fruit, tea, vegetables) on the spot. Do not add any dairy products, fats, oil, grease, or meat.
  3. Mix it all together.
  4. Top with more dried leaves to hide it and help with circulation so that critters don’t smell it and come for a visit. Although a pile 3 feet by 3 feet is considered the best, my piles are much smaller and still work wonders.
  5. Add more scraps and turn once a week to speed up the process. An abundance of insects and fat earthworms are a good sign!
  6. Water it once in a while to keep the pile damp and to speed up the process.
  7. Start another pile if you want your original pile to compost thoroughly. The first pile will reward you with compost in three to six months! Although some say if you cut everything in little pieces and turn your pile often, you can get compost in as little as two weeks!

If your pile smells bad, check what you’ve put into it and whether it’s too wet or needs turning. If the pile is dry, add water or add less dry matter. Food may also attract ants when dry. If pile is damp but not composting, turn it and mix in grass clippings and more woody wastes.

Good luck!

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