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Backyard Composting – Tips, Methods, and Benefits

compostingBackyard composting is a simple but efficient way to manage your organic wastes. This is very easy to adapt to and virtually free, as well.

Composting can be done using various methods. Each method needs certain materials and a certain approach.

In the guide below we will cover these various methods of backyard composting, as well as the benefits of composting and how to build your own backyard composter.

Different Methods Used in Composting

Open Air Composting – this method requires bins to hold composting debris. Several types of compost bins are available. Simply place the composting bin in a shady area. Once you started adding in yard debris, do not forget to water it as necessary in order to keep the ideal moisture level. Aerate the pile by turning it frequently, thus speeding up the decaying process. Finished compost can be harvested every six months.

Tumbler Composting – this method is done by using a barrel composter or compost tumbler. This is the ideal method to use if you are planning to turn tons of vegetable and fruit scraps into compost, without using a worm bin. Tumbler composting produces finished compost in just a couple of weeks.

Hot Composting – this method is perfect for those who have huge volumes of composting debris. Although this method requires some effort, it generally brings in high quality compost. Hot composting is done by using high-nitrogen materials to heat up the debris and initialize composting action.

Worm Composting – worms are one of the nature’s ways to decompose organic matter. In worm composting, you need a wide container and red worms. This is where your organic scraps go in. Worms eat up and turn the food waste into compost.

Benefits of Composting

Composting gives a number of benefits not just to the homeowner, but to the community as well. Here are three three major advantages of composting:

  • It improves the quality of soil. Farmers and gardeners use compost to aid in boosting crop production, while landscapers use compost to ensure proper growth of grass lawns and decorative plants in parks, gardens, golf courses, etc.
  • It improves the quality of air. Contrary to popular beliefs, burning leaves and other yard debris releases dioxins into the air we breathe. Therefore, in order the avoid doing this, your yard debris should go into compost bins rather than burn it.
  • It helps reduce landfill waste. According to the EPA, about ¼ of the waste found in landfills can be composted. Composting helps minimize the waste that usually takes up landfill space.

How to Build a Composter

compost holesBuilding a composter is a very easy task. Follow the steps below and you will have a backyard composter in no time.

You will need:

  • An old 32 gallon plastic trash can with lid or buy a new one for about $16 preferably black.
  • Drill ¾ inch holes into the can every 4” to let oxygen reach the composting mixture inside.
  • Choose a sunny spot and place the composting by setting in the stakes into the earth.
  • You can now start dumping your composting materials into the bin. Remember to dampen the compost mixture to speed up decaying process.
  • You can even add worms for faster composting.

I started with 6 new black 32 gallon Rubber Maid trash cans that I purchased at the local home improvement warehouse. I used a ¾ inch wood boring bit and drilled about 100 holes per can. In about a half hour I had 6 composters that I keep full. We compost everything from garden waste to cardboard and leaves. It’s amazing how much waste you recycle and the soil you get in return really makes it worth it.