Gardening 411 – DIY Composting

DIY Composting For Your Backyard

There are many benefits of DIY composting ranging from the positive effects on the environment to creating chemical-free nutrient rich fertile soil. This practice is actual quite simple, and approachable for just about anyone. It is becoming so popular for its practical and money saving implication, in fact, that entire cities are creating mandatory commercial and residential programs.

Curious? We are taking away the mystery of composting. You will see not only how easy and cheap it is, plus you will be amazed by the benefits of DIY composting.

First, what CAN you compost?

You can compost many food scraps and plants.Here is a surprising list of items you can compost.

  • Yard clippings from trees, bushes and shrubs
  • Grass clippings
  • Disease-free plants and flowers
  • Vegetable and fruit scraps and peelings
  • Young weeds
  • Herbivore manure such as horse, cows, and rabbits
  • Tea leaves and natural tea bags
  • Dead/fallen leaves
  • Shredded paper and cardboard
  • Coffee grounds and paper filters
  • Sawdust
  • Herbivore bedding like straw and hay from rabbits and hamsters
  • Egg shells washed and crushed up
  • Hair – either human or animal hair
  • Tumble-dryer lint
  • Vacuum bag contents (use common sense as to what has been picked up)
  • Wood ash in small quantities

Next, what can you NOT compost?

Certain food items attract vermin and will rot, and therefore contaminate your compost pile. It will also begin to smell rancid, whereas a pure compost does not smell.

  • Meat and fish (cooked and raw) as it may harbor disease
  • Dog and cat feces also harbors disease
  • Cat litter
  • Glossy magazines because they may contain inorganic materials
  • BBQ coals and coal ash may contribute harmful sulfur oxides

Does compost smell bad or attract excessive flies?

Nope. When properly done compost should not create an odor.

  • Always make sure you bury new food waste with compost bedding. Never dump excessive loads at once, therefore avoiding overloading the bin.
  • Consider adding worms, they process 2-3 pounds of garbage a week.
  • Aerate your compost regularly by turning the pile. Use a shovel or a rotating bin.
  • Healthy compost smells like soil.

How do you use compost?

You do not need to have a large vegetable garden or flower beds to reap the benefits of compost. It has so many uses around your property.

  • Vegetable and herb gardens
  • Potted perennials and flower beds
  • Sprinkle evenly on the lawn: makes a great chemical-free fertilizer
  • Sprinkle around new trees and shrub plantings
  • Add small handfuls to the surface of indoor potted plants

Many local parks offer programs and demos. They are free and teach the basics of how to build bins and how to get started. Your Cape Ace has all the supplies you for composting. Our staff is friendly and knowledgeable and ready to help you find all your supplies. Helping you help the environment, another reason why Cape Ace is The Place!

© Cape Ace Hardware
1320 Cape Saint Claire Road,
Annapolis, MD 21409
(410) 757-0797