Source: Life Lab

Source: Life Lab

Hey there! Katie from Hungry Harvest here. With Earth Day still on my mind, I’ve been trying to more towards a more zero-waste lifestyle. So today, I want to talk about composting. Many cities in Maryland have their own composting facilities and we even compost here at HQ! But did you know you could make your own compost right in your own backyard!? This blog will cover definitions of compost, mechanics of composting, and even a family friendly activity to get everyone in your household involved.

So what is compost?

Compost and soil are not necessarily the same things. Soil has four categories and can be various combinations and mixtures of sand, silt, loam, or clay. Here in the DMV area, our soil tends to have more clay. If you are having trouble growing in your yard a great way to combat this is by adding more sand and compost to your soil. To find out what type of soil you have, click here.

Different types of soil...

Here’s what the soil looks like in College Park.

Here’s what the soil looks like in College Park.

Here's what compost looks like.

Here's what compost looks like.

Big difference, right? Many farmers call compost ‘black gold’ because it’s just that valuable. Compost contains so many nutrients that help plants thrive. Think of compost as a multi-vitamin. Mix it in with your soil before your next planting!

So how do we get this stuff?

Can we just stick our trash outside and *poof* compost? I wish it was that easy! To make your own compost, you need a healthy balance between browns and greens. Browns can be hay, straw, fallen leaves, twigs, or paper while greens can be lawn clippings or pulled weeds and raw fruit and veggie peels. There are many different ways to arrange your compost pile. The one I'm going to show you today is my lasagna pile. Doesn’t that sound tasty?

compost pie
If you have a closed container, you may need to buy some worm eggs to help the process along.

If you have a closed container, you may need to buy some worm eggs to help the process along.

There’s a whole variety of composting bins, containers, and twirlers. It’s entirely your preference and what works best for your family. The most important thing is to be sure not to forget the secret ingredient. The F.B.I. Fungi, Bacteria, and Invertebrates, that is : )

Fungi and bacteria will come with time, but if you have a closed container, you may need to buy some worm eggs to help the process along. Red worms are a great way to go. These guys do the grunt work of turning our old veggies into lovely, nutritious compost.

While many fancy compositors can handle items like dairy, breads, and meat our little guys can’t process those. Stick with only produce leftovers just to be safe.

With our special friends, brown’s & green’s, water, air, and sunshine we can take what might have ended up in a landfill and return it back to the earth.

Family Activity: Compost Cake!

Ingredients
Hungry Harvest Fruit and Veggie Peels
Browns
Greens
Hay or Straw
Soil

Tools
Gloves
Rake/Pitchfork

Instructions
Start with your foundation by straw or hay length wise across your designated composting area. This will create air flow for your base. Alternate layers between your browns and greens. As you add kitchen scraps, be sure to top your layer off with your hay and some soil too. Every few days be sure to give your pile a good turn with a pitchfork to add more air in and encourage our friendly worms to join in on the fun!

Magic!

Magic!

During the summer, it can take as quick as 3 months to start seeing your very own black gold. Use this before planting by raking into the soil or incorporating into your potting mix. Look how happy this lemon balm is! By composting our left overs, we all can have happy plants too : )

Happy Harvesting!
Katie

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