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Do not throw out your tea bags with the trash. Save them in a dish and then empty them around your garden plants and shrubs. Makes a good substitute for peat and will add plant goodness and save you cash.
By alan julier from Cradley UK
The benefits of composting are many, such as free vegetables, healthy flowers, and the joy of knowing you are removing garbage from landfills.
I started by attending a local "clean and beautiful" event in my hometown of Tucson, where I live in the winter, and bought 2 composters. One for my summer home in Pinetop, Arizona and one for Tucson. I have a friend in Colorado who made one in her back yard with chicken wire. Both will work, but we have lots of desert animals and black bear so we need to keep ours covered.
I used the handouts from the local event so I knew what to compost. I notified friends and neighbors as I knew the two of us couldn't generate enough to make much compost. I was amazed how fast it will accumulate from neighbors coming by on their walks, the coffee grounds from our weekly community breakfast at our summer home, items at home like dryer lint, fruit and vegetable scraps, of course, and trimmings from the garden which add up.
In the fall, we shred our pine needles and oak leaves then add what I don't use to cover the garden for the winter. Starbucks gives away coffee grounds and my husband is good about stopping on his trips around town to pick up bags for me. We also have a Sunflower Market which has weekly food scrap give-aways in their parking lot for gardeners to pick up.
What I didn't expect were the "free vegetables", which I will explain. In the early summer, after arriving at our summer home, I spread compost around my flowers for fertilizer. Several weeks later, a tomato plant surfaced by a rose bush. I watched it for awhile then decided to transplant it into my small container vegetable garden. By the end of summer, I had beautiful and delicious grape tomatoes. I dug the plant up in October and moved them to Tucson for the winter, and they flowered and produced fruit all winter. I then dug them up in May and brought them back to the mountain and, again, I have fruit and flowers this summer. An amazing plant which must have come from the tomatoes I bought at the supermarket over a year ago. They seem to be so hardy and I would love to be able to identify the variety. I hope you will try this and enjoy as I have.
By sandra gaskill from Tucson, AZ
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I garden on what some people consider to be a large scale (to me it isn't). I also compost, I have been doing it for over 40 years. What gets me are the people who make comments such as "I wish I had room to compost" or "I don't have enough to compost", or "I don't know how to compost" and the killer is "I don't have the money to compost".
Composting is simple, easy, takes "no" money and little brains. Do you have a large container with a hole or leak in it, such as a trash barrel, tote, or hamper? If so, use it. If not, composting can be done in a pallet, small fenced area, or simply a pile. It will break down faster if you place it in a sunny location. Your container can not be water tight, as that will hold rain water and attract mosquitoes and your items will not compost properly. I use a animal stock tank (water tank) that has a hole in it.
Into your compost area, you will put any grass clippings and yard waste, and vegetative kitchen waste, such as egg shells, potato peelings, pot contents from the houseplant that died, the insides from your Halloween pumpkin, that tomato that went bad in the refrigerator, or old salad that never got eaten. Do not use meats, they do compost well, but they smell and attract raccoons, cats, and dogs; so you want to avoid that. Also, do "not" add contents of the cat litter box.
Every time you add something or at least weekly, stir your compost pile with a shovel or pitchfork. If it is dry, water it. Over time, the combination of the sun, heat, and water will break down your pile contents into nice rich compost. When needed, remove it from the pile and use. You may want to start a 2nd pile if the first pile is ready, or you may elect to turn your first pile into a place to plant.
No fancy additives are needed, no fancy equipment or containers. It is very simple, just takes time.
You can also compost over the winter months, but if your area freezes, it will be a slower process.
By mom-from-missouri from NW, MO
To enrich my compost, I save my peels as I'm cooking. I blend them till smooth and I stir them into the dirt of my compost pile. It reduces garbage and enriches my compost pile.
Once in a while, we forget to eat a certain fruit or the fruit becomes moldy. Instead of tossing the fruit in the trash, you could cut the fruit into pieces and feed to your fruit trees.
I put eggshells in a tray at the bottom of the oven. They get baked and brittle every time you use the oven. Just keep adding to the tray until it is full.
Every fall, we see people working very hard with leaves, putting them in paper bags for city collection. Anyone who has even a modest back yard can use an easier method. You may already have a compost heap where you put your garden clippings, etc.
Many garden tools are designed to make the job faster and easier, but an alternative usually exists that can accomplish the same task for a lot less money. Here's a rundown of six handy composting tools - what they do, why they are helpful, and the cost-saving alternatives.
I have a bucket in my kitchen next to the trash can, I call it my slop bucket. In it we rinse out food containers and cans, put in leftovers we don't end up eating, rinds, peels, sweeping the floor it goes in, vacuum bag, and hair cuttings. This bucket is dumped in the garden and flower beds all year around.
Composting is a great way to get amazing soil for your garden and keep some trash out of the landfill.
Composting makes great fertilizer for my garden and reduces waste. I have tried a number of ways to avoid walking to compost pile every time I have compostable kitchen waste, veggies, fruit, paper napkins, plates, etc. Everything I tried, even fancy counter compost containers, left me with fruit flies.
For a quick compost container, an old garbage can with the bottom cut out will do the trick. Just toss in fruit peels, vegetable scraps and the like, and pop on the lid.
A good way to enrich your garden soil and help out the earth is to bury your "wet" garbage. I bury my apple, orange, potato peels, etc. in my garden. We can't have a compost heap, but I've found this works just as well.
Since dryer lint is mostly organic material, it is great for the compost pile.
Looking for advice on starting a compost? Here are some tips from the ThriftyFun community. Most people avoid meat and meat by-products because of the smell and the tendencies to attract flies which do nothing to help the compost process.
Add flat cola to your compost pile. It seems to "richen" up the compost. I read this on some gardening site.
Do not throw away your daily coffee grounds or tea from tea bags. Mulch or compost them.
I use plastic 4 gallon buckets with lids to store my compost in by my back door. When they are full, I take them to the compost pile and dump them.
Raked-up leaves make great compost and are good to dig into your garden now to enrich the soil for next year's crops.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I see many references at various compost related info sites, where I often see, "no meat or animal products", but rarely an explanation as to why. Finally saw one response in your site, "because it gets smelly".
Is that the only reason? I thought maybe it might have something to do with such products (meat and meat products) cultivating an undesirable bacteria or something like that. Can anyone enlighten me on this?
By Annuity - Victor from San Francisco, CA
Such products also draw unwanted critters to paw through your compost pile, such as skunks, opossums, and rats.
Seconding what 'readingiggits' said. Vermin!
The meat also contaminates the soil with e-coli germs and other really bad bacterias. This gets into your vegetables or fruit and makes you very sick. Just stick to vegan scraps and a little bit of lawnmower cuttings and you will have a good compost pile.
Rats! Trust me, you do not want an infestation of rats! So no meat or meat byproducts.
I don't put any meat products in my compost AT ALL and still have a very fat mouse living there! I guess he/she likes lettuce and carrots!
What I learned was that in order to compost meat you need a compost pile to reach really high heats. Since a home compost pile usually can't reach the high heats of commercial pile can, it is not safe to compost meat.
I compost my kitchen scraps, grass cutting, and leaves in pots. I don't have room for composting bins or a space in the ground. It works fine, I have tons of worms and the kitchen scraps are devoured very quickly. I was attending a gardening class at one of our local nurseries and we got on the subject of using compost. The person leading the class said not to use compost in pots, as it is too high in nitrogen and will burn the plants.
I generally mix the compost with soil and have had good luck with growing my vegetables in pots, but wondered if I should be concerned? I am trying to not have to buy potting soil and was hoping that by mixing the compost with my regular dirt I could create a healthy soil for my container plants. Am I causing more damage to the plants and good? Please help.
Hardiness Zone: 10b
By Janice from CA
I am very new at gardening. I am growing tomatoes, papaya, corn, peas, peppers, etc. I have started collecting all the the peelings from my fruits and vegetables in jars. How long do I have to wait to mix it into my soil to add to my potted plants?
I really should have asked the question before now, but this is the question or problem. I started to make compost for my organic garden, I used carrot shavings, potato peels, apple cores, banana peels, and whatever veggie scraps I had at the time. I threw in some dirt and a little water and made sure I stirred it up.
Now here is the problem, its been raining and more water got inside the little bucket of compost. The mixture has turned into mud and with the extra water it smells bad almost like someone took a dunk in it, but I thinks its the potato peels that stink. I still see part of the apple core, it's black.
My question is: Can I still use the bucket of mud as compost. Should I drain the water out of it. Or should I put more dirt in it, or just dump it in the garden. What should I do?
How can you get a very large pile of grass and horse manure to break down quickly?
Hardiness Zone: 4b
By Margaret from Omaha, NE
Keep it wet, for more info go to-how to compost, good luck.
Turn it several time a week and keep it moist but not dripping.
It takes oxygen as well as water to get the compost bacteria multiplying quickly. You'll know it is finished when it no longer is as hot when you turn it.
If your grass clippings were green and not dry, this pile is going to be very high in nitrogen sources and lacking in carbon sources. Do you have any fallen leaves, shredded newspaper, wood chips, or other low-nitrogen waste you can add to it? High nitrogen piles tend to be more smelly, if I remember correctly.
How do I compost eggshells properly so I don't add any disease to my soil? I am new to composting. I do not have organic eggshells to compost. I've read about so many eggs having disease.
If I hardboiled eggs, then I put the eggshells in the compost because the eggshells have been boiled. However, many times I use eggs out of the shells, so I have been washing the eggshells in the dishwater and rinsing them clean after I am done doing the dishes.
What is the appropriate way to handle eggshells for compost use?
By Carol Rodriguez from South Bend, IN
Are the balls good to put in my compost pile?