Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Practically Living Green

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6 Practical Reasons to Compost at Home

When I compost at home, it’s not only because I’m trying my hardest to save the planet. In reality, having a compost pile can offer a ton of benefits. Especially for those of you who like to garden or grow fresh veggies.

And for many of us, it could help save a lot of money down the road.

Today, I’ll go into some of the more practical reasons why you should compost at home and what you can toss into this pile. It’s actually quite simple to get started.

Why Should You Compost from Home?

Now, there are a lot of lists online that break down many benefits of making a compost pile. And some touch base on how it’s good for the environment.

However, I tend to look at the realistic and immediate effects of green living.

1. Enriches Your Gardening Soil

Composting helps put vital nutrients back into the ground. This means that your plants have more of what helps them thrive. And if you live in an area like mine, more nutrients are vital.

In many rural areas, homes are built in locales that are not exactly rich when it comes to soil. A lot of these locations, especially neighborhood expansions, are difficult for growing almost anything.

Well, with the exception of sod. Still, I’ve seen a lot of grass die off because of high alkaline levels.

The landscape of my new house is virtually sand. There’s really not much in terms of nutrients to help a variety of things grow. By composting, I can put nitrogen and other elements into the soil.

2. Regulates Acid and Alkaline Levels

Another point about some rural areas is the fact that the soil can often be quite rich in alkaline levels. In fact, alkaline levels are quite high in the northeastern parts of Colorado, where I used to live.

It’s common for areas with high concentrate of alkaline to show as a white, dusty appearance on the ground.

Adding compost to the soil can assist in balancing out those levels. And if you’ve ever tried to grow anything in alkaline-rich soil, you probably already know the value of balance.

3. Retains Water Better

According to various experts, compost is better apt at retaining water. This means you’ll need to use less to keep your landscape healthy.

I’ve actually seen this first hand. The locations where I’ve added compost seem to have the better growth, especially for my pumpkins. The landscape retains the water, which means the plants have a sustainable supply.

Considering my yard is mostly sand, this is ideal for anything I want to grow. And this also means I spend less on the water bill to keep my plants healthy.

4. Costs Nothing to Start

Pork Rind Compost Bucket

Starting a compost at home doesn’t have to cost anything at all. Well, aside from a few moments of your time. In fact, I use an old pork rind bucket to hold my kitchen scraps until I take it outside.

You can use all kinds of bins and fancy buckets. But if you don’t have a lot of money, really, any container will do.

Of course, using some of the fancier things will help the composting process along at a much faster rate. And the time it takes for decomposition in general depends greatly on what you’re throwing away.

5. Reduces Waste Heading to the Landfill

One of the reasons why I only roll my trash bin out to the curb about once every three weeks is because we compost as much as possible. Which really isn’t a lot considering I only cook what I intend to eat.

Still, there are a lot of kitchen scraps that don’t need to make it to your kitchen trash can. Not only that, but it also reduces the smell from your trash in general.

Well, aside from dairy products and meat – as you don’t want to put those things in your compost.

6. Saves Money

A lot of people are charged for trash pickup. This means the more you produce, the higher the bill. By reducing how much you throw in the trash, you’re saving yourself a lot of money throughout the year.

Using compost at home to improve your fruit and vegetable garden also helps by impacting your grocery budget. Why pay for foods and spices when you can grow most of them yourself at a fraction of the cost?

Personally, I love growing basil to use in my soups. And now that I’m in the new house, I’m looking forward to the compost helping in next year’s garden. I would love some fresh peas, strawberries and blueberries.

If you love gardening, compost at home also means fewer trips to Home Depot for soil. This can save money for both the soil as well as the gas you use to get to the store.

Hey, it adds up quickly throughout the year.

What Can You Compost at Home?

In reality, there’s a lot of things you can compost in the home. Usually, it’s all food-based items. Just remember not to mix dairy, meats, or toxic materials in your pile.

Things you can include:

  • Fruit and Vegetable Peelings and Remnants
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Biodegradable Tea Bags
  • Yard Clippings (such as grass, leaves, dead plants, and even wood chips and twigs)
  • Eggshells (but not whole eggs)
  • Dryer Lint (yes, you read that right)
  • Shells from Nuts
  • Fireplace and Firepit Ash
  • Human and Pet Hair (putting yourself in the garden, literally)

Currently, I dump a lot of banana peels, onion skins, and coffee grounds into my compost in the home. That’s because I go through a lot of these on a weekly basis.

I also mix fertilizer in my bucket and shake it up regularly. And if my friend will ever bring me a bucket or two of stuff from the horse corral, all the better!

How I Compost at Home

I wouldn’t say I’m an expert at composting. But, it is something I am highly interested in just for the fact that I want something to grow in my yard outside of desert weeds.

Like I said, I have a large pork rind bucket that I use for mixing up the materials. When I make coffee every morning, I scrape the grounds into the bucket. When I have other food items, I add them as well.

Then, when the compost bucket is full, I simply take it out to the yard. Lately, I’ve been adding it in front of where the pumpkin vines are creeping along. It should take a couple of weeks before the plants reach the soil.

Pumpkin Patch

I’m sure that I’ll update this post once I have a perfect plan for my compost at home. And I’m pretty excited to try the different techniques that are out there.

The overall bottom line, though, is that it’s practical for all of us to compost as much as possible. Not only is it good for the environment, but it’s greatly beneficial on a financial scale.

Instead of spending thousands of dollars trying to revamp a nutrient-poor landscape, composting only costs a bit of your time.

Having Compost for the Home is Beneficial

So, I am still learning the ins and outs of proper composting. But I know from past experiences, it works exceptionally well. In fact, I remember eating watermelons from my grandfather’s compost pile when I was a kid.

Just the capacity to enrich the soil alone is enough for me to give it a shot. Especially since I am looking forward to some home-made wine. I need some grapes and blueberries!

Do you have any interest creating compost at home? What’s your preferred method for breaking down your food wastes?

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.

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