Most potential buyers looking into Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale want large outdoor spaces to undertake different projects. Composting has especially become popular among homeowners who want a sustainable way of reducing trash. Our REALTORS® are also great fans of composting, and they share their top tips below in honor of Learn About Composting Day on May 29.
- Get a Bin
Compost bins are available in different materials, shapes, and sizes. The ideal type primarily depends on the amount of space you have. For instance, a plastic bin suits a small space, and it retains heat and moisture to facilitate rapid decomposition.
If you want to yield large quantities of compost, get a wooden compost that lets you cycle compost through the year to ensure a steady supply. Hot compost bins are another great option as they allow decomposition at higher temperatures for quicker decay.
Other homeowners use wormeries for small quantities of kitchen waste. These bins contain tiger worms to break down organic material. However, not all waste is fit for a wormery, and you will need a compost bin as well.
You can also fashion your compost bin out of corrugated iron or wooden pallets. Enclose all sides to ensure the bin retains heat and speeds up the decaying process.
- Select a Location for the Bin
Choose an accessible location in your yard that isn't too windy, hot, or cold for your compost bin. Level, well-drained ground is suitable but ensures that occasional smells and leaching liquids won't be an issue.
While the area under a tree is cool and warm, it isn't ideal for compost bins since the tree's roots may extend to the base of the compost heap to get nutrients. Ensure that your chosen area has enough working space as compost requires regular mixing.
- Combine Brown and Green Materials
Your compost bin requires a mix of brown and green materials to develop good compost. Brown materials like fallen leaves, hay, wood shavings, newspaper, and shredded tree branches provide carbon for the bacteria and fungi in compost piles. Additionally, these items create good airflow as they decay slowly and retain their structure for longer.
The compost pile also needs nitrogen-rich "green" materials like food scraps, tea bags, grass clippings, vegetable and fruit peelings, and coffee grounds. If your compost looks extremely brown and dry, add these items and water to make it moist. The ideal ratio is 1 part green to 3 to 4 parts brown is ideal for composting, but you can adjust quantities as needed.
- Add Water
While water is vital to the decomposition process, too much or too little of it waters down your efforts. For instance, the microbes in the compost pile get waterlogged and drown in excess water. In this case, the compost heap rots instead of decaying. A compost pile that is too dry decomposes slowly and unevenly.
Ideally, compost heaps should be around 40-60% water. Squeeze a handful of compost while wearing gloves to determine the amount of water. If you can't squeeze any water, the pile is too dry. The pile will be too wet if water gushes out. Generally, your heap should be damp, not soaked.
- Stir up The Pile
Aeration is a vital part of the decomposition process. So, turn the compost heap every few weeks with a shovel or pitchfork to add air. Your compost bin should also have ventilation to facilitate the circulation of oxygen.
- Know Your Compost
Once the compost pile starts producing heat, you are doing something right. If the heap is dry and slow to decompose, add nitrogen. If the pile reeks of ammonia, add more brown materials and fewer green items. The decomposition process will be complete when the pile smells, looks, and feels like rich, dark soil rather than decaying vegetables.
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