Go green with compost - getting down and dirty with it!

If you're ready to go green and in turn let that green debris go brown, you can do just that in building a compost bin.  Compost is a great way to give back to the soil vital nutrients that will spur the growth of your plants and garden in a much better way than any fertilizers that will instead contain nasty chemicals.  Having a compost bin in your backyard is easy to set up and just one more way you can help the environment.  By adding the cardboard, coffee grounds, fireplace ashes, leaves, food wastes, and many more items you can then recycle and reuse it all at the same time!  Yet there are some things that should never be added to a compost pile and the initial staring of one should be done in a certain manner.  So here is your composting 101 guide to green living.

Start out by finding where the best possible location is for your compost bin; ideally it will be in an area that will receive plenty of water.  When you then begin your pile you will want to start it off with a base layer of brown and green 'duff'.  The brown will be things such as pine needles, saw dust, newspaper, and dead leaves while you will want the green to include fresh grass clippings, vegetable waste, and weeds.  In your go green venture to the dirt you will want the first layer to be that of brown items and build that up to about 6 inches.  On top of this you will then add in a couple inches of green goods and top it off with a bit of organic soil to add in the necessary microorganisms to help break down the materials; once this has been done grab that hose and wet it down.  This will then be one full layer and you will continue to add in the more refuse in the same way as you did to build up your bin.

Continually feed that compost pile so that the organisms can get down to what they're best at you will then be left with a dark, nutrient rich all natural fertilizer.  This can go in your garden, in potted plants, or help bolster those vegetables you've got growing and in turn wind up a tasty treat for you.  No matter how you use your compost you will be doing Mother Nature a favor.  As for what the best duff is made of, aside from what has already been mentioned there are yard trimmings, eggshells, vacuum and dryer lint, tea bags, hay, straw, fruits, vegetables, clean paper, and hair or fur.  What you never want to add are fats, oils, lard, grease, pet waste, plants that have a disease, coal, charcoal ash, bones from meat or fish, and anything that has been sprayed with any kind of pesticide.  Also be careful that any leaves or branches from trees are not from black walnut trees specifically as these contain toxins that will hurt your plants.

The effort to go green is all the more fun when we get down and dirty with compost.  Recycling paper and using other organic products around the home will save you on purchasing other soils or plant foods but more importantly is an excellent way to earn that green thumb.

Photo credit: Daniel