Even in the winter months you can still add to your compost pile or bin. It may just freeze depending on where you live, but once the weather warms the process of decomposing will begin. Compost occurs naturally and continually with or without our help. A natural process where leaves, grass clippings, vegetable scraps, etc. break down and go back into the earth’s soil to nurture it. The nutrients provided from the compost feed new growth and beautiful healthy plants emerge!
Composting eliminates a lot of waste that is thrown into your trash can and hauled away. Starting a compost bin or just a pile is relatively easy. Find a spot in your yard – preferably near your garden so you don’t have to haul it that far. Gather leaves in the fall, weeds, grass clippings, most kitchen scraps and add them to the pile. You can let it sit or turn your pile for faster decomposing. When we moved into our home there was a compost bin already standing. Every year I added leaves and just let it sit. Now everything goes into the bin (with a few exceptions). Just recently I started adding chicken manure from the 3 chickens we acquired this past year.
I use the screen to sift through the compost and return the uncomposted material back to the bin.
I also have a huge pile out in the forest area that I try to turn a couple times a month during the warmer months. We actually used an old trampoline that was left on the property and turned it into a huge bin. We enclosed the circular frame with chicken wire to contain what we added to it, left the top open and use the trampoline canvas as a cover over the compost.
I also started a worm bin several years ago inside the house. The worm castings are excellent natural fertilizer for the gardens. Vermicomposting (the name for composting with worms) takes a little more practice to master. Patience is the key ingredient. You start by adding damp newspaper, kitchen scraps, some gritty material like crushed eggshells (just a small amount) and a bit of soil….plus the worms. Then let it sit. The worm bin or factory I purchased has 3 bins with a lower section that catches the liquid runoff. This I can use to make compost tea and add to the water when watering the plants.
The worms do a remarkable job, but like I said it takes patience and several months to see results. I found that adding newspaper or shredded papers keeps the contents stable. Do not add too many scraps at first. Take your time and observe – you will get the hang of it after a while and your garden will love you for it!! The soil in the garden is the foundation for healthy happy plants and one of the most important parts of successful gardening.