Gardentalk – How to recycle kitchen scraps, garden debris to make your own garden compost
Adding compost to your garden adds nutrients to the soil while improving its physical properties. With a little patience, gardeners can make their own compost by recycling ingredients found in the kitchen and backyard. Composting also helps reduce the flow of waste to the local landfill.
“You just want to make sure you’re preparing for a good time rather than a bad time. Bears are the main thing to think about (for) a bad time, ”said Lisa Daugherty, who runs Juneau Composts, a commercial composting operation in Lemon Creek.
“If you are composting food scraps, you want to make sure you have plenty of carbon (like cardboard) on hand at all times so that no food scraps are ever exposed to the air,” said Daugherty. “If you can see them, if you can smell them, then you’re just asking for trouble.”
These exposed food scraps can attract flies, squirrels, crows and bears.
For home composting, she said she creates a pallet bin with four wooden pallets standing and tied together at the corners. A cover is placed on top of the bin so that the compost is not saturated by the rain.
The front pallet is split in half so she can open the bin and use a fork or shovel to turn the compost or aerate the pile. Turning the battery regularly provides oxygen to the microbes, which will help them break down everything faster.
“People tend to think of greens and browns or carbons over nitrogen,” Daugherty said. “But basically you’re just trying to have a diversity of material. So food scraps, garden debris, leaves, shredded paper, cardboard, sawdust and (and) moss.
“I think the more diversified your inputs, the better your compost will be. “
Daughtery admits that she’s not a big fan of the compost drum turners sold by retailers because they are unwieldy and attract a lot of flies.
“The flies will fly towards you as soon as it opens and for me it’s not a very pleasant experience,” said Daugherty. “I’m thinking of composting because you should feel like you’re working in your garden. You shouldn’t feel like you’re working at the landfill.
Daugherty said things like craft brewing grains are great for the compost pile.
But she doesn’t recommend novice composters to put in weeds, seafood, meat, or dog poop, especially if they’re not sure their compost pile is heating up enough.