Composting is a free source of organic fertilizer essential to properly take care of your garden. For many, composting is a daunting task because they think it is messy, pricey and time-consuming, but in my experience not one of these myths are not true.
Myth #1: Composting is difficult.
Composting can be difficult if you do not know what you are doing. Once you get the hang of it there isn’t much to it and messing up is pretty hard. Composting is simply the process of breaking down plant materials to form humus, (as opposed to hummus, which you eat). Homemade compost is the best fertilizer your plants ever had. There are different types of composting: hot composting, cold composting and vermicomposting.
I am most familiar with vermicomposting as that is the kind done at my community garden. Vermicomposting is very similar to hot composting in that you must mix wet and dry waste in a bin and turn it every now and then to create heat and accelerate decomposition. The difference is that hot composting does not require worms. In cold composting grass clippings and leaves decompose and as you may have guessed it, this process takes more time. There are specific things that are appropriate for composting and certain things you should never compost.
Myth #2: Composting attracts flies and smells.
One of the reasons many people don’t want to compost is because they think it attracts flies and is smelly — after all it’s a pile of waste decomposing, right? Wrong. I have a small compost pail in my kitchen and it hasn’t once smelled bad when I have properly taken care of it. The same goes for the flies. I did once have an infestation of fruit flies but it was because I forgot about my pail for about a week in a half. My pail has a filter so it didn’t stink up the place but it did smell pretty bad when I went to drop it off at the community garden. Haven’t had any problems since but I try to consistently take out my pail full of food scraps every two or three days.
Myth #3: Composting requires a lot of space.
Composting can be accomplished by apartment dwellers. It’s just a matter of finding the right spot in your home. I was composting at home before I decided to take my food scraps to my community garden. I decided to stop composting at home for selfish reasons. If I contribute food scraps to the community garden compost I am able to use more compost for my plants.
Myth #4: Composting is expensive.
While there are composters that sell for $300, even $400, composting does not have to be expensive. You can make your own composter for about $3 and a quick trip to Home Depot, Lowe’s, a hardware store, or a garden supply store. Some towns even subsidize the cost of composters to encourage residents to compost instead of throwing food scraps into the trash. Check your town’s website or call your city’s waste department to check.
Myth # 5: Composting requires worms.
Outdoor compost systems do not require worms. Earthworms will naturally find your compost pile and enjoy the lovely food supply you have left for them. If you want to set up a worm composting system, check out the tips on this page.