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Composting Methods

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Composting Methods

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Overview

Composting has numerous benefits. You create less trash for yourself and the landfills by recycling your kitchen and yard waste when you compost it. Creating your own compost helps you save money you may have spent on buying garden mixes and composts to replenish your soil. Additionally, you learn about the cycles of nature and can teach your children, friends and neighbors how to turn garbage into nutrient-rich dirt.

Sheet Composting

The simplest method of composting is sheet composting. If you use a mulching lawnmower, you are doing one form of sheet composting. Laying a thin layer of yard waste on your lawn or garden is the gist of sheet composting. Even if you do not have a mulching lawnmower, by mowing frequently---which ensures there is only a short length of grass laid on your lawn every time you mow---you can help your lawn be more nourished with compost. Similarly, by spreading grass clippings, leaves, mulch and other yard debris on your garden and then tilling it into the soil, you can do a simple sheet compost.

Heap Composting

Heap composting is relatively simple as well. You can put all your yard waste and kitchen waste (dairy, meats and fats may become smelly and cause problems for your compost) into a pile in an out-of-the-way part of your yard. Cover your heap with hay, cut grass, pulled weeds and leaves to keep the smell to a minimum. If you turn your heap regularly, it will compost more quickly. Keeping the heap moist will also assist the composting. Alternately, you can build a wooden or brick structure and heap your compost inside.

Trench Composting

You can dig a pit or a trench to do your composting in. With this method you chop and bury your kitchen waste in areas of your yard or garden. This enriches the soil in a manner similar to sheet composting, but does it under the ground instead of on top of it. You can rotate where you bury your garbage to systematically replenish your soil.

Bin Composting

You can purchase (or build) bins to compost in. This is an excellent way for apartment dwellers or people with small yards to compost. A bin can easily fit in the corner of a yard or patio as you fill it with your kitchen and yard waste. Some bins are designed to be turned which helps your compost to break down faster. Tumbling bins are sometimes on mounts for tumbling your compost in small spaces, and some are designed to be rolled like giant balls of compost.

Worm Composting

Another popular method for the apartment dweller is worm composting. This method can be simple or elaborate. Simply, you can put worms, bedding (newspaper, leaves or wood chips), a handful of dirt and a sprinkling of water into a plastic bin with holes drilled into it. Then bury your kitchen waste, store the bin under you sink and let the worms do the rest of the work. You can also buy an elaborate worm bin with several layers and a spigot for draining off the "tea" (liquid compost). Worm composting can also be done on a large scale for profit.

Keywords: composting methods, ways to compost, worm bin compost

About this Author

Em Connell McCarty has been writing for more than 27 years. She studied writing at the University of Iowa and at Hollins University in Virginia. She is continuing her study of English and writing at the University of Wisconsin. She writes fiction, creative nonfiction and essays. McCarty's fiction has been published in "Hip Mama" magazine and "Danse Macabre."