Green Summer Tips

Published on June 10th, 2015

Green Summer Tips: How to Start Composting

If you’re looking for a new summer project and a great way to be environmentally friendly, look no further than… Composting. Composting involves mixing household and yard, organic waste in a controlled pile or bin and providing the right conditions to facilitate decomposition. Bacteria and fungi breakdown and devour the waste, and it produces a rich, organic fertilizer that also boosts your soil quality. It’s not hard to get started composting, either.

Most homeowners suggest getting a composting bin and placing it out of sight, like in your backyard. Whether or not it’s in your backyard is up to you, but it’s best to make sure your bin is getting some direct sun exposure. Once you find the right place with all the right elements: light, water air circulation; it’s time to start adding compostable materials!

Quick Tips:

• Grass clippings add nitrogen to your soil, so make sure to add this to balance out anything that adds carbon (usually things that are brown add carbon). Adding this will quicken your decomposition.
• More on carbon and nitrogen: Make sure you have equal weight (Not volume!) of each. Green organic waste is often high in nitrogen and brown organic waste is often high in carbon.
• Shredded up newspaper or plain white paper can do wonders for your compost.
• Coffee grounds help to attract worms to your compost, which move through it and help bring in some much-needed air circulation.
• If you have a fireplace, make sure you don’t add too many ashes to your compost bin. If you realize that you may have added to many ashes already. All is not lost: add some pine needles or oak leaves to balance out pH levels.
• If you’re throwing plant clippings into your compost, avoid adding plants that have pesticides. These chemicals can also throw off pH levels.
• Most pet droppings make compost toxic. Those belong in the trash.
• Meat, bones, fats, and dairy also belong in the trash. These scraps will make your compost smell very bad and attract unwanted critters.
• Algae and seaweed are amazing additions to any compost, but before you throw them in, it’s best to rinse them off.
• Make sure your compost pile is damp, but not too wet or dry.
• Remember—anything that was once living is good for your bin. Vegetables, leaves, clippings, flowers…the list goes on.

Once your compost is finished breaking down, you can add it to your garden 2-4 weeks before you plant, giving the compost time to integrate with the soil.

As the long, warm weekends beckon, now’s a great time to get out and get that compost bin – help add life to your garden and do your part for the planet. If you’re ready for some property and are thinking about new home or your first mortgage, it’s best to start with speaking with a qualified mortgage professional. If your house is on the market as you shop for your next dream home, feel free to contact a UHM Loan Officer today so you can learn more.

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