Some days, producing "black gold" for your garden may seem eerily familiar to the painstaking and monotonous routines gold diggers went through to scrounge mere ounces of gold from creek beds in Alaska. Although you may not feel quite like shouting cries of joy to the wind, taking up easy composting can help free you from many of your composting chores to enjoy other, more important events in your life.
Many would-be composters get turned off by the thought of spending hours in the back yard turning, mixing and watering a heap of decomposing organic waste. Easy composting allows you to enjoy the benefits of composting without having to invest a significant amount of labor during the process. Individuals with a busy social calendar or work schedule can still convert organic waste into a nutrient-dense soil amendment without having to decrease the number of hours they're available for other activities.
Two of the most common easy composting methods are heaps and worm composting. According to the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension, a compost heap must be at least 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall by 3 feet high in order to be large enough to sustain proper composting temperatures yet still small enough to allow natural oxygen flow throughout the pile materials.
If you produce only one pound of organic food waste each week, a worm compost bin can be as small as 1 square foot, but a typical household usually requires a worm bin that is approximately 2 feet by 3 feet to process four to six pounds of weekly food waste.
If most of the organic waste your household produces consists of fruit and vegetable scraps, such as banana peels and old potatoes, then you should be an ideal candidate for worm composting, a form of easy composting that uses worms to do all the work. All you need for worm composting is red worms, a wooden or plastic bin full of moist, shredded newspaper bedding and kitchen food waste. To make worm composting easier, you can store your worm bin in the cupboard beneath your kitchen sink, which provides the quiet, dark location that your compost worms crave.
Easy composting entails less work, but you may have to allow more time for the composting process to take place, depending upon the composting method you opt to use. Compost piles, the least labor-intensive traditional compost method available, may take up to three years to produce finished compost, especially if you have woody materials in your compost heap, according to the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension. Worm composting, on the other hand, requires 10 weeks before you can begin harvesting finished vermicompost, according to Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture.
Choose an easy composting method that meshes well with your lifestyle and the amount or type of organic waste that your household produces. For example, if you have a large, country yard and produce a significant amount of grass clippings, a compost heap provides a much better composting method than worm composting. However, if you live in the city in a high-rise apartment, worm composting will most likely be a better fit for your lifestyle.