Fall is the time to slow down, take stock and get ready for a cozy winter and vibrant spring next year. We’ve put together a handy checklist to get you started.
Want to tidy up your property? For free? How about with no hauling or transportation? Good news! All of that and more can be done easily and inexpensively with a compost pile- plus, you’ll be generating nutrient-rich soil to keep your gardens, pots and raised beds healthy.
Types of composting
We’ve been composting as long as we’ve been letting our discarded food scraps break down and decompose (hint: for as long as our species has been eating food) so it’s safe to say we humans have come up with a few different methods. Here are some of the best.
What to compost
With a few exceptions you can compost almost any organic waste, including food scraps, lawn trimmings, branches and wood (we suggest shredding these down as much as possible to speed up composting), as well as paper products and cardboard. Things like meat, dairy and grease as well as pet waste should only be done via Bokashi or large/commercial scale windrow composting
- Fruit and veggie / kitchen scraps
- Lawn trimmings, leaves
- Paper products
- Yard scraps like branches, weeds, etc.
- Organic fibers like cotton, wool, hair, etc.
What not to compost
- Meat, Dairy, fats and greases will cause a foul odor as they decay, as well as drawing insects and pests into your yard. Unless you’re doing Bokashi, which is under an airtight seal, we strongly recommend not adding these to your compost pile
- Pet or human waste doesn’t just smell bad, it can contain parasites and diseases that the heat of your compost pile isn’t guaranteed to kill. Bokashi’s airless environment is probably your best bet if you’re bound and determined, but in our opinion the risks massively outweigh the rewards in this case.
- Diseased or insect ridden plants, just like poop, are probably not worth messing with in a classic compost as those diseases and insects can easily survive and contaminate the rest of your compost pile. In this case, though, a cycle of Bokashi should probably take care of it fine.
- Anything treated with chemicals: Composting can break down matter into fresh earth, but it can’t remove any kind of chemical contaminants that might have been brought in by yard waste or debris (or on anything else for that matter.) Be extremely careful, as pesticides and herbicides can linger in the soil, killing off anything that’s grown in it and/or leeching off into the water system.