Composting is recycling your kitchen waste and lawn trimmings and turning them into a valuable resource for your garden or houseplants. This is done by speeding up the process that the materials you use to compost go through on their own – decomposition.
Compost is not soil. It is a common misconception that the end-result of composting is the dirt that you find in the ground. It is a substance that acts as a fertilizer (enriching the soil) to grow hardier and healthier plants.
Before you begin composting there are choices to be made – what type of container and style suits your project, what you will be putting into your compost bin, and the location of your bin. But regardless of these decisions, how you convert your waste into compost happens the same way. It is a breakdown of waste materials as they are digested by microbes (bacteria and fungi).
The microbes are the workers of the composting equation. They need air, water, and food to do their job and it is up to you to supply it to them in the right amounts. If you have heard that having a compost bin or pile creates a foul odor it is most likely the result of not enough air circulating throughout the waste material. Without air, the material will still breakdown but it will be done by anaerobic microbes (organisms that do not need oxygen) as opposed to aerobic (ones that need oxygen). So if you do have an unpleasant smell coming from your compost bin or pile you can rotate the material to let in more air or add a substance to create more room for the air to circulate. Wood chips or hay are good for this.
Composting is good for the environment and your garden – it eliminates the amount of waste you throw away and enriches the soil your plants grow in.