Over the last decade or two, many homeowners have begun to care more about their environmental impact. And there are several ways you can help the environment right from your own kitchen! Have you ever considered setting up a kitchen waste composting program? If so, you’re one step closer to transforming your home into a green home.
And best of all, doing so will not only help the planet, but it will help your garden too!
In this post, we’ll explain how to start composting kitchen waste, break it down, and explain the basic steps you’ll need to take. And lastly, we will share some of the best ways to use the resulting compost.
What Is Composting, and Why Is It Helpful?
In a nutshell, “composting” refers to converting natural, organic materials into a fertilizer.
In other words, it allows you to convert banana peels, carrot tops, lettuce stems, and other vegetable-based scraps into a high-quality soil amendment you can use to grow plants. And the beauty behind this compost is that it is beneficial for more than just houseplants. You can also use it in your backyard or front yard gardens, or anywhere else you grow plants, for that matter.
The process of composting provides many benefits for you and the planet. A few of the most important include:
- Composting vegetable scraps means they won’t end up producing methane (a greenhouse gas).
- Any food scraps you compost stay out of landfills.
- Finished compost (the broken-down end result of composting) is a great fertilizer.
- Finished compost helps the soil retain moisture, meaning you have to use less water.
- Using compost helps reduce the number of synthetic fertilizers you need to use.
And synthetic fertilizers are not only expensive, but they will do more harm than good to the soil if you use them too often. Now that we know what composting is all about let’s take a closer look at how to start a home-based compost.
How to Start Composting Kitchen Waste: What Is the Basic Process?
Composting isn’t terribly difficult – in fact, you can get started more quickly than you’d think!
Before even getting started, you’ll need a compost container. You can buy compost containers or create compost bins using plastic storage bins, wooden pallets, and old kitchen appliances.
Most compost enthusiasts recommend starting small and working your way up over time. That way, composting will become an easy habit for you to add to your daily routine.
Essentially, you’ll need to do three things if you’re interested in learning how to start composting kitchen waste:
- Set up a composting space: There are a variety of things you can use for composting. Since all food will eventually rot (and therefore smell bad), setting up your composting space outside might make the most sense. Not only will your nose thank you for it, but everyone else in the house will appreciate it, too. And while some people choose to put their compost in large containers or bins, some opt to start their piles directly on the ground. Either way, you’ll want to assign it its own space in your yard. Building a small fence around it will also prove helpful when keeping out the local critters.
- Add the right ratio of materials to the composting space: It’s important that you add your composting materials in a sensible way to ensure the best final product. Simply put, you’ll want to try to add two to three parts of carbon-rich stuff (paper towels and dead leaves are two great choices) and one part green, nitrogen-rich stuff (fruits and veggie scraps and coffee grounds are both great examples).
- Mix the material periodically: When composting kitchen waste, you’ll want to periodically mix it up — roughly once a week is a good rule of thumb. And since you may get tired of mixing it and bringing it outside on a daily basis, you can also freeze it as you go. Simply put the week’s collection into a Ziploc storage bag and place it in your freezer. This allows you the luxury of bringing out your compost when it’s most convenient. Just don’t forget it’s in there! The point is to use your compost, so you will want to eventually add it to the rest of your collection.
How Do You Use the Compost You Create?
Now that you have some compost, you won’t have to wait long to use it. After a few weeks of sitting with the rest of your organic waste, you’ll notice that it’s turned into a thick substance – kind of like soil. It will be dark in color, but the smell it had while it was rotting will be long gone.
If you aren’t sure if it’s ready to be used, take a big whiff! If it smells musty, it is ready to be used. As a matter of fact, you won’t even be able to recognize any of the scents of the scraps you used to make it. Suddenly, it takes on an earthy fragrance that proves how amazing things can be when you let nature take its course.
There are a few different ways to use compost:
Use Compost for Vegetable Gardens
Interested in bigger tomatoes and carrots? Homemade compost can help! Just mix a small amount of your compost in with your garden vegetables at planting time. You’ll love seeing how much the compost helps retain moisture and fuel the growth of your veggies!
But what if you forgot to mix the compost in with your soil, and now you’re worried it’s too late? Don’t worry — you can still enjoy the benefits of compost! You still have time to add that amazing veggie-plumping concoction you’ve been working on. Sprinkle it around the bottom of your veggie plants and add a bit of water. That’ll do the trick.
And no need to stop there! If you have leftover compost, try distributing it evenly across your lawn. You’ve worked way too hard to make sure your lawn is perfect and green. Let that compost give you a helping hand in keeping it that way.
Use Compost for Houseplants
Indoor plants can also benefit from your compost. And this isn’t just a nifty trick for homeowners — eco-friendly apartment dwellers living in the city have also begun composting kitchen waste. You don’t need a garden to do your part in helping the environment.
And because apartments are all pretty similar and lacking in “personality,” many people like to liven up their homes with plants. Whether your plants are sitting by a door or hanging above a window, your compost can help them thrive.
Unfortunately, as you probably already know, house plants often die shortly after they’re brought home. Sometimes this is due to the amount of sunlight or water they get, and at other times it’s the temperature of the room the plants are sitting in. Learning about your plants and making sure you know how to best take care of them is very important.
But let’s take it one step further, shall we? By adding compost to your plant’s soil, you are allowing it the opportunity to thrive more than it would without it. Some plants that are a tad harder to care for, like Fiddle Leaf Figs, tend to thrive with aged compost. And if you’ve made a large amount of the organic fertilizer, you may even be able to replace the soil with it altogether.
Use Compost for Rose Bushes
For so many of us, we take pride in the landscaping design of our yards. And why shouldn’t we? It’s the first thing people notice when coming to our home, so we spend a lot of time and effort – and oftentimes, money – to make it look amazing.
Rose bushes are perhaps the most iconic plants that people add to their front yards, and it’s easy to see why: They’re obviously gorgeous, but they also work well with various types of outdoor architecture, such as trellises.
But do you know what would help make your rose bushes look even better?
You guessed it — adding some compost!
You didn’t spend all of that time composting kitchen waste to let it sit around, did you? No, you didn’t. The base of your rose bushes is that perfect new home for your compost. Simply sprinkle it close to the roots, allow it to seep into the soil when watered, and voila! You’re on your way to bigger, better, and more beautiful roses.
And if you have other flowers or shrubbery in your yard, feel free to follow those same steps to maximize your plant’s potential. Many bushes will appreciate that dose of “extra love” your compost has to offer. Try it with all of them!
As you can see, learning how to start composting kitchen waste sounds complicated, but it’s really pretty easy. And believe it or not, it’s pretty fun. In fact, it’s the kind of fun that the whole family can participate in. We actually recommend it!
Letting your kids get in on the action will not only give them something to keep them busy, but it’ll also teach them to be environmentally friendly. And showing them how to be good to our earth will only help our wonderful planet in the long run. Remember – our little ones will be running this place one day. Let’s make sure they remember to appreciate it and all of its beauty.
If you’ve had success with composting kitchen waste, we’d love to hear from you in the comments. Let us know what worked for you. What you may have learned through trial and error, some of our other readers can learn from you. Thanks again for stopping by!