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 …

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What You Should Put into Your Compost

To reap a harvest of rich compost for your gardens, make sure you add the right ingredients to your compost bin—and keep the wrong ingredients out. Good ingredients for your compost bin: Peels from potatoes, carrots, onions, bananas, oranges and other fruits and vegetables. Apple cores, stems, inedible leaves and other parts of fruits and vegetables. Corn cobs and pumpkin shells. Because of their size and thickness, these take longer to break down than vegetable peels or apple cores do. Snapping the corn cobs in half and cutting up the pumpkin shell speeds up the process. Egg shells. Coffee grounds and filters. Yes, you can throw the filter into your compost, too. Tea bags. Whether you can compost tea bags depends on the brand. With some brands, the bag break down nicely. You will never see the bag, cardboard tag or string again. However, bags from other brands don’t break down as easily. You shouldn’t be able to find the tea bags six months or a year after you have added them to your compost. Garden waste, such as wilted flowers, grass clippings and houseplants. However, don’t add any plant that may be diseased. Autumn leaves. Shred the leaves or run over them with your lawn mower. If you’re using a lawn mower, spread the leaves on a driveway. If you mow the leaves on your lawn, it will be difficult to rake up the chopped bits of leaves. Kitchen paper, such as used cupcake holders, used wax paper, used …

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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 …

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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 …

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How to Keep Fruit Flies Away from Your Composting

Fruit flies are annoying little bugs that like to invade the house. The Drosophila melanogaster is attracted to organic matter like fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruit on the counter or in a bowl can attract them. How do they get in the house? Are they preventable? Are there natural methods to get rid of them? For over 40 years, these questions have been bugging Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm customers. Fruit Flies in the House Sometimes a fertile fruit fly comes in through an open door or window. It’s more likely, however, that their eggs, pupae, or larvae have hitched a ride in your produce. Just beneath the surface of fruits and vegetables is where fruit flies like to lay their eggs. Once in your house, they typically stay near sources of food, though they also gather near sinks and other places, like your kitchen scrap bin and composting bin. Composting Whether it’s inside or outside, families who compost tend to collect their wasted organic materials in a bin or pail before moving them to their composting bin. Many families make use of vermicomposting, which means their bin contains worms that break down leftover food scraps into fertilizer. Worms quicken the composting process. The best composting worms are Red Wigglers. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is #1 when it comes to composting worms and supplies. People like vermicomposting because it provides them with all-natural fertilizer that is more nourishing than regular compost. All composting is great for the environment, but fruit flies will …

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The Ideal Bedding for Your Composting Worms

To have the best vermicomposting experience, your worms need the best bedding. Our Red Worms are the best for composting. They will savor your leftovers and produce the best organic fertilizer. The good news is that there are multiple different beddings to choose from for your worms. Uncle Jim has pre-made bedding that you can buy. You can also make your own worm bedding from objects already in your house! Any bedding should mimic a worm’s natural environment. To do this, the bedding should be: Soft and gentle (nothing that might cut their delicate skin!) Porous enough to allow airflow (worms breathe through their skin) Neutral pH balance of 7 Moist (but not too moist, like a wrung-out sponge) Non-toxic Edible materials Our recommended beddings for your vermicomposting bin are: Fall Leaves are good to use as bedding as long as they have been composted beforehand. Fall leaves are currently very abundant. Rake them into a pile and leave it outside through the winter. They will be ready to use as bedding by the time spring rolls around. Brown Corrugated Cardboard can be found in almost any home. Most stores will also give it to you for free if you ask. Your worms will love this type of bedding in the bin. Just shred it or tear it into pieces. Shredded Paper, so long as it is unbleached or from black-ink only newspapers, can make for some good bedding when mixed with other materials. Avoid any bleached office/printer paper or newspapers with colored ink, junk mail, or envelopes containing plastic because these will …

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Winter is Coming! Get Your Outdoor Vermicomposting Bin Ready for Chilly Temperatures

The leaves are changing colors, which means it’s the time of year to get your vermicomposting bin ready for the colder season. Even though it’s cold outside, you can still compost your kitchen scraps using worms. The worms will produce free, all-natural fertilizer. If you are from a warmer climate that doesn’t dip below 57°F, your composting worms will probably not die, but they will slow down due to lower temperatures. However, if you live in a colder area, then you may want to take precautions so your worms will not die.

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Vermicomposting, Hot Composting or Cold Composting?

Composting is composting, right? Wrong! Let’s talk about three different types of composting: hot, cold, and vermicomposting. All these styles of composting break down organic matter. They all result in finished compost to use in your garden soil. However, they each require a different amount of labor from you. And they each take a different amount of time to start producing finished compost.

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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.

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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.

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