A Caveat and Affiliates
First off, a little caveat: within my articles you will find affiliate links, meaning if you buy them, I get a small commission. Your cost is not affected. In addition, I am an Amazon Associate and I earn from qualifying purchases on Amazon.
And yes, if I say that I recommend a product here, it means I truly believe it is a good product. I refuse to recommend any product that I have not researched and believe to be a good value.
Even better, I provide you with a very clear picture of the product, it’s use, and the probable value.
Earning your trust is important to me. I run this website myself and the commissions and donations help support the site.
Sound reasonable and fair enough? Let’s continue to the article.
The majority of compost bins speed up the decomposition of organic waste by providing adequate aeration and moisture retention. The right balance of air and moisture creates perfect circumstances for aerobic organisms responsible for the high temperatures that turn organic matter into compost.
Compost is an organic material that you can put into the soil to aid plants’ growth. Composting these materials keeps them out of landfills, taking up space and emitting methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Composting leaves and grasses
An excellent way to recycle while also providing a nutrient-rich garden soil supplement. Leaf compost has several advantages. The compost improves the soil’s porosity, enhances fertility, reduces landfill waste, and forms a living “blanket” over your plants. It only takes a basic understanding of nitrogen and carbon balance to learn how to compost leaves. The right proportion will guarantee that leaves decompose quickly.
Composting leaves makes a dark, rich, earthy, organic matter that can be soil. It gives nutrients to the garden soil, and the larger particle size helps enhance the tilth and loosen compacted earth. Compost retains moisture and repels weeds when used as a top dressing or mulch.
What is the best place to put a compost bin
Composting is easier in the summer than in the winter, but it still takes attention.
Plant-based materials spontaneously degrade and restore nutrients to the soil if left undisturbed. Composting is just a method of organizing this process, allowing private gardeners and homeowners to convert their yard and household waste into usable fertilizer. Some people adopt a more relaxed approach, just piling trash and letting nature take its course. Others churn and aerate their ingredients regularly, resulting in a fast-working, high-temperature compost. You can compost all year long if you adjust to seasonal needs, regardless of your chosen method.
- Slow Composting
Find a source of high-carbon “brown” materials like decaying leaves, hay, straw, or sawdust. Whenever you add high-nitrogen “green” materials like grass clippings or food scraps, layer them into your pile. If you reside in a region where rain is scarce, moisten your pile now and then during the summer. Decomposition should occur at a typical rate if the bin is somewhat moist. When needed, cover your bin to prevent moisture loss.
To avoid slug damage, keep your compost away from your food garden. Slugs love compost piles, so keep an eye on yours and get rid of any slugs you encounter. Bury food waste at least 10 inches beneath the pile’s surface and cover it with compost and brown items like dead leaves. As the food leftovers degrade in the summer heat, this helps to reduce odor..
- Hot composting
Turn your compost regularly to keep it aerated and evenly mixed. The bacteria in a hot compost enjoy the heat of summer and will swiftly decompose the ingredients.
Check your compost for moisture every time you stir it. Rather than being wet or dry, it should feel moist. If necessary, gently moisten it. In hot summer, enclosed bins require less watering than open bins, although both can dry up rapidly. In the heat, it’s essential to keep an eye on your pile for unpleasant odors that might quickly develop. Too much water and too much “green” stuff are the two most prevalent sources of odor. To counteract these issues, use dry “browns” like sawdust or straw.
A superb method to enhance any soil is to add organic matter, and in the autumn, there is an endless supply of organic matter: it falls off the trees.
Autumn leaves are an essential component of compost, which is nature’s fertilizer. It enhances the structure of the soil when you work a shovelful of it into it. Compost, used as mulch on top of a flower bed, helps suppress weeds and enriches the soil as it decomposes. A thick layer of compost mulch around flowers and bushes acts as insulation, allowing the soil temperature to remain consistent. It also has a lovely appearance.
Here’s how you should use your fall leaves and clipping to prepare for fall:
- Gathering leaves and grass clippings
Leaves are essential compost materials since they are rich in carbon and easily incorporated into the compost. Deciduous types of leaves are best; do not use evergreen leaves such as holly, laurel, and conifers. Please wait until the leaves start turning brown before raking them up.
Fresh grass clippings are nitrogen-rich and used as activators for compost. Add grass clippings to your compost in thin layers to prevent matting. Then add twice the volume in brown materials to
- Use a composter with lid
It’s essential to keep the compost bin wet but not soggy. To stay extra rain off an open compost pile, cover it with a tarp. Enclosed composters are ideal because they keep the moisture from the composted items during autumn, keep pests away, and speed up the composting process.
- Extra materials saved for future composting
Burlap bags are ideal for storing dried fall leaves, and you should keep the extra sack near the compost heap. You can place a layer of leaves on top by adding kitchen scraps and other ‘green’ items during the winter months. It helps to balance the green elements and accelerate the composting process.
- Start a new compost bin
Autumn is also an excellent time to start a new compost bin if you have any extra material. You may always begin with any compost from the bottom of your first bin. You may also speed up the process by using any annual plants you pick out of the ground. However, try to keep the species connected to the uprooted dirt.
- Gather the skeletons of finished annuals
If you have a vegetable garden, gather the plants for composting once they grow and the harvest has been completed. To make composting more manageable, break bigger plants into smaller pieces. Composting the root mass or any sick plants is not recommended. Remove any thick stems or branches as well.
You may also add flowering annuals to your compost pile if you have them. Once your fall perennials have turned brown, cut them back.
Over the winter, there’s no need to let compost lay inert. Keeping your compost active all year has several advantages, including providing excellent fuel for your garden in the spring.
It will generate fertilizer for planting in the spring; it can handle more than most indoor systems, and it can even function as a supplemental heat source for a greenhouse if you keep the outside compost working all year. The key to maintaining compost activity over the winter, especially in cold areas, is planning.
Here are tips for winter composting:
- Monitoring the moisture
Insulation is less necessary in milder temperatures for keeping compost microorganisms alive, but there may be other issues. However, in cold, wet climates, moisture management is critical for keeping active compost going over the winter. Absorbing water can be problematic with a pile system because rain soaks into the ground by the compost. To keep rain from falling directly on the compost, keep the containers tightly covered.
- Know what you can use to compost
Throughout the year, the composition of your winter composting collection might be the same. Include leftovers from the kitchen, such as fruit peels, rinds, and cores. Coffee grinds and paper filters may compost, as well. You can also use tea leaves and tea bags. Composting eggshells is also a good idea.
- Yard clippings
You should balance green (nitrogen) and brown (carbon) components in compost. Because most of your kitchen trash will be nitrogen-rich, be sure to include yard waste like straw, dried leaves, and plant debris. When it’s time to start a garden in the spring, your well-balanced compost will come in handy.
- Materials to avoid
Because plants lose 50 to 70% of their volume during the winter composting process, you may successfully handle a wide range of plant waste. Some items, however, should be avoided. Woody twigs and branches with a diameter more than 14 inches should be shredder-chipped first. It would help if you prevented pine, spruce, juniper, and arborvitae wood and leaves. Also, stay away from plants that have been sprayed with herbicides.
- Tracking the temperature
In the winter composting process, the temperature is critical. Rapid decomposition indicates by temperatures between 90 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Decomposition will be slower throughout the winter months but will rapidly restart as the weather warms up in the spring. Composters who are new to the process may wish to keep an eye on the temperature. If the temperature drops too low, you can boost activity by adding nitrogen-rich material and rotating it.
It’s time to start designing your vegetable garden and flower beds when the snow melts and makes way for spring’s blossoming trees and plants. Compost will aid in the nourishment of your plants, allowing them to thrive.
Here are some spring composting guidelines to keep in mind, whether you’re new to composting or have been doing it for years.
- Collecting the right scraps
It would be best if you collected everything from vegetable and fruit peels to coffee grounds, shredded paper towels, and eggshells. To manage these leftovers, keep a covered container in your kitchen. The cover will aid in the reduction of smells. Empty the container into your outdoor compost bin when it’s full (or if it starts to smell or attract flies).
- Protect against pests
Whether it’s squirrels, mice, rats, or raccoons, there’s a high possibility you have some annoying creatures near your home. By turning your compost often and maintaining a healthy green to brown ratio, you may keep animal visits to a minimum (wet material to dry material). Also, keep meat, as well as any leftovers containing oil or dairy, out of your compost bin.
- Keeping insects under control
Although your compost pile will include some bugs, all of that trash may create a breeding habitat for undesirable insects. Flies and beetles are usual, but add extra brown material to the compost and stir it more regularly if they get out of hand. To keep pests at bay, bury fresh food waste beneath the compost.
- Testing the smell
The scent of your compost should be “earthy,” not unpleasant. While composting aims to create beneficial bacteria for your plants and flowers, a foul odor might indicate that you’re cultivating the incorrect bacteria. If your compost stinks, try adding other brown matter and stirring it more regularly. Also, make sure there are no meats, fats, or dairy in the mix.
- Location for the compost bin
When determining where to place your compost bin, look for a site in the yard that is not in direct sunlight or beneath giant trees. Also, avoid placing your compost container near a wood-structure or a fence because you want adequate air circulation to assist decomposition.
- Worms can help too
Worms love to consume kitchen trash and will help transform your leftovers into rich compost, known as vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is an excellent technique to keep your compost running all year, so it’s ready for spring planting. Vermicomposting can be in plastic storage container bins or DIY compost bins.
Our Top Pick for Compost Tumbler Bin is…
This is the one we use in our own backyard! You can read more about it here.
Should compost bins be in the sun or shade?
For you to provide the ideal circumstances for microbes, bacteria, earthworms, and other critters to transform your garbage into garden gold, a healthy and productive compost bin must be damp but not wet, as well as contain a tiny amount of warmth.
- Under the sun
A heated area in direct sunlight is ideal for your compost bin. You may need to water it now and again since it will dry up quickly in the sun unless it receives a lot of rainwater. You may discover that compost in a sunny location requires fewer carbon components, such as paper, sawdust, cardboard, and dried leaves, because such items generally aid in drying a pile.
- Under the shade
You can also leave your compost bin in a shaded area of your yard. A pile in the shade will likely stay colder, resulting in a delayed but still efficient decomposition. In the shade, your compost heap may be a slight damper than a container in the sun. As a result, you may need to add additional carbon material and flip it more frequently to ensure that the greens and browns are mixed and do not get soggy and damp.
Consider the weather in your location
The temperature where you reside may also influence whether your compost bin likes the sun or the shade. If you reside in a colder area, more light on your compost pile at home may help it heat up and decompose faster. If you live in a scorching environment, though, the compost bin will likely prefer a shaded location so that it does not dry up too rapidly from the heat.
Advantages of using compost bins at home
Composting is a great way to recycle waste and is a green alternative for fertilizing plants. It’s the process by which organic matter, such as rotten vegetables or paper scraps, decays into nutrient-rich compost that can be used in gardening instead of chemical fertilizer. In addition, using compost bins at home reduces landfill waste and is good for the environment.
A simple way to compost at home is to use an open pile method, but there are many benefits to using compost bins. Compost bins come in several different shapes, sizes, and types – some better than others for making quality compost quickly and efficiently without attracting pests such as raccoons or rodents who may break into your bin and scatter everything all over the place.
Sizing your compost bin
When choosing a compost bin, the first thing you want to do is measure your yard and figure out how much space you have for composting. Then, make sure there’s enough room around the bin to turn it and work with it easily without damaging adjacent plants or structures.
A large compost bin will make turning easier, which contributes to faster decomposition. If you opt for a smaller one, be sure that its size is still efficient by using good design. These usually include stacking two bins on top of each other so that as one fills up, you can switch the lids around and put those contents into the now-empty bottom compartment. Then use that now-empty top compartment as a fresh base for new composting.
Keeping pests out of the compost bin
Compost bins are convenient for separating your compost from other waste, but some people worry about attracting unwanted animals to their compost piles. If this is a concern for you, there are several things you can do. First, if possible, place your compost bin in an area where it will be shaded most of the day (to keep decomposition at a rate that prevents odors and pest attraction), up against a wall (if using an open pile method.
Remember not to place next to walls if using containers), or under an overhang like the eaves on your shed or garage (which keeps the rain off but lets air circulate). And if that’s still not enough, try lining your container with chicken wire – this deters pests by making it uncomfortable to dig through the pile.