A Beginner's Guide to Composting in Coeur d'Alene

Experts say that due to our "quarantine spring," more people are gardening this summer than ever before! Because of this, today's blog is about composting. It is not only one of the best nutrient-rich supplements for your garden's soil, but an excellent way to reduce waste!

Here's a step-by-step guide to composting!

1) Choose Bin Size

The first thing to do is decide on the compost amount you need and select an appropriately sized container. If you are new to composting, we recommend starting small until you are comfortable with the process. A small tub or can works, but there are also compost-specific options available online or at most garden stores if you are willing to invest in one. If you have an un-used hidden corner of your landscape, merely fencing off a square section with chicken wire works just as well!

2) Prep the Container

If you choose to use a container from around your house, be sure to drill a few holes in the bottom for proper aeration. With micro-organisms and the decomposition of organic materials, allowing oxygen and liquid in (and out) of the compost mixture is essential!

3) Add Materials

Compost forms from the breakdown of "wet" and "dry" organic matter. The dry--or brown--materials include dead leaves, straw, paper, and dead grass or hay. Be sure to place a thick layer of these materials on the bottom of your compost to allow for proper drainage.

Wet--or green--materials include over-ripe fruit and vegetables, table scraps, peels, and cores. Used coffee grounds also work well. Unless you have a specific composter, avoid adding pet feces, meat, and bones so you do not attract unwanted visitors!

Chop up all other ingredients well to speed up the composting process.

4) Keep Soil Balanced

Gradually alternate adding green and dry matter to the mixture. Add worms or purchase composting micro-organisms for the best results. Be sure to watch that the mix is balanced by adding wet items if it is too dry and dry items if it is too wet. The perfect balance, with time, will yield the best results.

5) Mix Regularly

Mix the compost regularly, especially on warm summer days. Add a bit of water as necessary throughout the process.

6) Use Your Compost!

Before too long, you will have the coveted, beautiful "gold" dirt for your garden and plants to thrive in. Some experts recommend using your composted soil when it feels and looks like crumbled chocolate cake.

Add the mixture like mulch around the base of your plants and watch as the nutrients replenish the soil!

Best of all, composting allows you to reduce your waste and use your food scraps! Happy gardening!