Sustainable Living: Composting at Home

Years ago I’ve heard my dad talk about composting in his backyard, and at first I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. He taught me that it helps with waste management, and compost can be used as organic fertilizer for their plants at home.

I found later on that composting does not only provide free organic fertilizer, but more importantly it is a sustainable way for me to contribute to leaving a green footprint. Compost scraps that end up in the landfills produce methane – and methane emissions cause global warming. The materials that can be used for compost are readily and abundantly available at home anyway – so in short composting is free, easy, useful, and sustainable. For those that do not have a garden to use the compost soil for, I’m sure there will always be a neighbor in need of some. I remember one of our neighbors giving us compost soil when we ran short planting some herbs in our pot garden.

Compost bins can be bought from garden depots. In my home we made our own DIY compost bin by using the extra bricks that were piled up in the yard to form the bin’s walls. Then for cover, we used a scrap metal sheet. We designated a dry shaded spot at the backyard for our DIY compost bin. We made sure it is covered at all times because our animal friends love roaming around the backyard – we wouldn’t want them digging away on the compost.

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Bricks and scrap metal sheet for our DIY compost bin

At least twice a day we get to fill up the compost bin with scraps. For an efficient compost pile, we make sure that the greens (or wet) are balanced with the browns (or dry). The greens provide the nitrogen for the soil, while the browns provide carbon – that’s why they have to be balanced so that the chemical composition of the soil will be good. Examples of green or wet scraps are vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, used loose tea leaves, and chicken poop. Yep, we have 4 lovely hens in the yard that provide us our free-range organic eggs everyday. For the brown or dry scraps, we use eggshells, paper bags, toothpicks, bamboo skewers, feathers that fell off the chicken, dog fur (which we get from our dogs’ grooming combs), dried leaves and twigs from our backyard, used paper towels, and tissue paper rolls.

Lastly, we mix the compost at least twice a week so as to ensure that the moisture is balanced. If it is too dry, we add a bit of water; if it is too wet we turn the soil so the moisture is equally distributed throughout the bin. We carefully do the turning though – there are worms in the compost bin and we wouldn’t want them harmed. The worms help in the organic decomposition of the scraps.

So there you have it, a glimpse to our composting practices at home. I am glad our neighbors started a composting community.


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