Food is an integral part of the water cycle. Plants need water to grow. Animals need plants to eat and water to drink. The big trucks need water to keep their engines cool on the long interstate drives from the farm to the store to the table. You even use water to clean and cook your food.
We know it’s important to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, but did you know you can do that with your food, too?
Food waste is the name for our leftovers after we’re done preparing, cooking, or eating our food. In this mini-series, Frannie will look at different ways that we can reduce, reuse, and recycle food waste.
Composting is one of the easiest way to reuse food waste from fruits and vegetables. It reduces the volume of trash we put into landfills while creating nutrient-rich soils we can use to grow beautiful, healthy plants.
It starts with a box. Or a bin. Or hole in the ground. Or even just a pile in the corner of your yard that is out of the way and people know not to step in. Any way you have it, the important part of the pile is the worms and fungi and bugs, decomposers that will take whatever you put into your compost and turn it into the dirt you want at the end.
Once you have your compost pile or box or hole, you can start putting things in there. But wait, you can’t put all of your food waste in the compost. Only put plant-based items in your bin, such as nut shells, fruit and veggie peelings, grass clippings, and weeds. Things you should not put in your compost include meat, dairy, oils, or fats because they might attract some pests you don’t want near your home.
Once you have added your first compostable materials, cover them with soil or some already completed compost. This will kick-start the decomposing process by introducing the worms and microbes (little bacteria) to the fresh scraps.
Add a little water for moisture, turn or stir it once a week, and voila! Your composted soil should be completely done and ready to use in just a couple months! Of course you can always add to the top of the pile and scoop out the finished compost at the bottom to keep the process going.
Like Frannie said before, the finished product that comes out of a compost pile is a nutrient-rich soil that you can use to start new seedlings or spread on the top of your garden like a fertilizer.
Share pictures of your compost piles and gardens for a chance to be featured in an upcoming blog! Happy Gardening!