7 Ways to Speed up Your Compost

7 Ways to Speed up Your Compost You want to harvest your compost as quick as you can. Here are 7 ways to speed up the decomposition process. Balance carbon and nitrogen Balancing your high-carbon materials with high-nitrogen materials will speed up your compost bin. High-carbon materials tend to be brown and dry, such as dried leaves, straw and wood chips. High-nitrogen materials are green, such as grass clippings, or they’re colorful, such as fruit and vegetable peels. One item that doesn’t follow that rule is manure from horses and cows. Manure is brown, but it is a high-nitrogen material. The most efficient composting occurs with a carbon-to-nitrogen mix of about 20:1. That means that you want about 20 times more dried leaves (by volume) than fruit peels. A chart from Cornell Waste Management Institute shows some carbon-to-nitrogen ratios for typical materials, based on dry weight. The ratios with a small first number are high-nitrogen materials and the ratios with a large first number are high-carbon materials. (Note that some of these materials have a range for their content.) Here are the carbon-to-nitrogen ratios for some typical materials: Poultry manure, from 3:1 to 15:1 Cow manure, 20:1 Horse manure, from 20:1 to 50:1 Food waste, about 15:1 Fresh grass clippings, 15:1 Sun-dried grass clippings, 20:1 Oak leaves, 40:1 to 80:1 Straw, 50:1 to 150:1 Sawdust, 200:1 to 750:1 Newsprint, 400:1 to 850:1 Corrugated cardboard, about 560:1 Maintain moisture The microbes in your compost bin need water, but not too much …

Read More

Get Rid of Dog Poop with a Pet Waste Composter

Did you know that you can actually compost your dog waste and cat litter? It’s not difficult, but you have to use a special composter that extends below the surface of the soil. You can make a pet waste composter yourself or buy a Pet Poo Worm Farm. Whether you make your own pet waste composter or buy one, there is no smell. And the decomposed pet waste and other material you add to your composter will improve the soil below the surface. Why you need a pet waste composter You shouldn’t mix dog droppings or cat litter into your regular compost. Pet waste can contain harmful pathogens, but your home compost doesn’t get hot enough to kill those harmful organisms. Compost that is contaminated with pet waste could spread pathogens to lettuce and other food plants in your garden. Eating that food could make you sick. Picking up pet waste with a plastic bag and throwing the bag into your garbage isn’t a good option, either. Most trash ends up in landfills, and landfills can pollute the surrounding soil, air and water. You could just leave dog waste on your lawn, but that will ruin the grass. Plus, no one wants to step in poo! How a dog poop composter is different from regular composters The goal of each composter is different. With a regular composter, gardeners are trying to make plenty of compost that they can spread on top of their vegetable beds and flower beds. The aim …

Read More

Maximize Your Output with ‘Hybrid Composting’

Most gardeners use one of two kinds of composting: cold composting or vermicomposting. But there’s no reason you can’t combine the two. What we call “hybrid composting” can increase the amount of compost you produce and speed up the process, too. Types of composting Vermicomposting uses worms to break down plant matter and food scraps quickly. You can get finished compost in just a few months.  Cold composting is usually done outside with a compost bin or compost pile. The system relies mainly on microorganisms to break down plant matter and food scraps. Cold composting can take six months to a year to produce usable compost.  In a hybrid composting system, you add worms to your cold composting bin. Advantages of using worms in compost bin More room to create compost. Vermicomposters are small, so you are limited in the amount of material you can compost. If you have large bags of autumn leaves that you want to compost, you’ll need to turn to cold composting in an outdoor bin. An outdoor compost bin will also provide more room for kitchen scraps such as carrot peels and coffee grounds. Note: Don’t use spinner composters with worms.  Speed up the process. Instead of relying on just microbes to break down the plant matter, the worms will be doing their part, too, by eating food scraps and yard waste. How to start hybrid composting Layer your materials in your compost bin. Put the freshest, least composted materials on the bottom. These materials …

Read More

Container Gardening Using Vermicompost

When you think of container gardening, you probably think of flowers. Surprise! You can also grow herbs, vegetables, shrubs, and even trees in containers! Basics of Container Gardening Find out the needs of your plant and make sure to give it what it needs. Choose a location that has the right amount of sun for that specific plant. Select a container with drainage holes. Make sure your container provides enough space for the plants’ roots. Some plants, such as parsley and leaf lettuce, can be planted in shallow bowls just six inches deep. At the other end of the spectrum, small trees need a 15-gallon container, which is about 16 inches wide and 16 inches deep. Water as often as needed. Smaller containers will need to be watered more often than larger containers. If you get cold winters, the roots of perennials, trees, and shrubs in containers could freeze and be damaged. You may need to move these containers to a sheltered spot during the coldest season. Use a light soil mix in your containers.

Read More

How to Grow a Butterfly Garden Using Compost

Are you excited about the idea of growing a garden that butterflies love? Looking forward to beautiful fluttering wings? If you want to attract butterflies, it’s not enough to offer the adult butterflies a bit of nectar. You must also create a garden that is hospitable for their offspring–caterpillars. Your plants will need nourishment. Organic finished compost is safe for both plants and insects. Start in advance by composting kitchen scraps. The fastest way to compost at home is to use composting worms. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm has composting bins and composting worms to make plenty of finished compost. Nectar Isn’t Enough for Butterflies The mistake that many gardeners make is that they plant flowers that offer nectar for adult butterflies, then do nothing more. Like other creatures, butterflies are driven to eat and survive–and to reproduce as well. So in addition to finding a meal today, butterflies need to find plants that their future baby caterpillars can. When butterflies find those plants, they lay their eggs there.

Read More

Vermicompost Holds Water: Tips On Watering Your Garden

Did you know that composting with worms can help keep your garden’s soil moist enough? Using composting worms to break down kitchen scraps results in vermicompost (literally: worm compost). Just by keeping a worm bin, you will have a ready supply of vermicompost to use in your garden. Vermicompost in the soil nourishes the plants and adds air pockets. The air pockets allow proper drainage, helping to regulate soil moisture. Most people are busy and want to be efficient about watering their plants. There are two main ways to save time watering plants. The first is to choose the right plants. The second is to improve water retention by adding compost to your soil. Choose Plants for Dry Areas If you have a spot in your yard that tends to be dry, or you live in a dry climate, choose plants that do well in dry areas. Otherwise, even watering multiple times a day may not be enough to keep your plants healthy.

Read More

Composting Worms and Container Gardening

Container gardening means growing plants in containers instead of a garden bed. Composting worms can play a role in successful container gardening. Growing plants in containers instead of the ground solve many gardening problems. If you’re concerned about your soil, don’t have much space, or want to convert lawn into a garden bed, planting in containers may help. Just like any growing medium, the soil in container gardens will need fertilizer. The easiest and cheapest way is to start a separate bin that uses worms to break down kitchen scraps quickly. This is called “vermicomposting.” Vermicomposting results in worm castings (worm poop) that is more powerful than regular finished compost. This concentrated organic fertilizer is ideal for container gardens. And, once your worm bin is established, the fertilizer is free and self-replenishing. We recommend using a tray-based composting bin for convenience.

Read More

How to Add Worm Castings to Your Garden and Lawn

Composting with worms results in highly nutritious worm castings. Your lawn and garden need nutrients to grow. Therefore, putting worm castings in the soil will help your plants grow strong. How do you harvest worm castings? Where can you apply them? Worm castings are also known as worm poop. Vermicomposting, or composting with worms, means maintaining a special bin filled with bedding and composting worms. We recommend Red Worms for most composting projects. If you also want fishing worms, then European Night Crawlers can do double-duty. Just feed your kitchen scraps and garden waste to the composting worms. They will eat through the organic material and produce fluffy, dark worm castings. Worm castings are also called “black gold” because they are the perfect soil amendment. Vermicomposting reduces waste and makes excellent organic fertilizer. Follow these steps to grow lush gardens and lawns.

Read More

What is Hot Composting Versus Vermicomposting

Many vermicomposting enthusiasts know about a technique to break down organic waste to produce fertilizer without using worms: hot composting. Although both produce organic fertilizer, there are many differences. The type of bin, location of the bin, setup, and day-to-day feedings are not the same. Also, the resulting organic fertilizer from worms is different than from hot composting. First, let’s explore hot composting, especially for those individuals unfamiliar with this method.

Read More