For those of you who already recycle and are looking to further reduce your environmental impact, composting can be a fun and rewarding activity. It’s also a resourceful way to feed your houseplants or garden.
But what if you don’t live in a house or have a yard for big composting bins? If you have extra space in a closet or a cabinet, have a balcony or are allowed on the roof of your apartment building, you can still compost effectively.
Compost can be made up of almost everything you throw away in your kitchen. Fruit scraps, vegetable waste, paper napkins and even coffee grounds can make for a suitable compost fertilizer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
To get started, you can use a few five-gallon buckets to make your own compost bin. You can also buy special indoor bins from hardware and gardening stores or purchase them online. Backyard bins can be bought from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works for $40 each.
If you want a more hands-on approach to learning the basics of composting, the city is hosting a free workshop on May 4 from 10-11 a.m. at the Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden in Polliwog Park.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works will hold its composting workshop at Columbia Park, located at 18721 Prairie Ave. in nearby Torrance, June 1 from 9:30-11 a.m. The workshop will provide hands-on instruction in advanced techniques of composting and sustainable gardening.
The EPA offers a few tips on how to create an effective compost mixture:
- Browns - This includes materials such as dead leaves, branches, and twigs.
- Greens - This includes materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds.
- Water - Having the right amount of water, greens, and browns is important for compost development.
Your compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens. You should also alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. The brown materials provide carbon for your compost, the green materials provide nitrogen, and the water provides moisture to help break down the organic matter.
For the adventurous, adding worms to your heap can help make your mixture a richer fertilizer. Worms will aerate your mixture while burrowing for food and they excrete a natural substance that contains more nutrients than topsoil.
Do you compost? Are you planning on starting? Share some of your tips or experiences in the comments below.