Home composting

|Alicia Howes, Environmental Resources Committee|

Trending in communities across the country, due to Covid precautions, are increased “homing” activities: a few include, sourdough bread-making, writing memoirs, learning to play an instrument and silly karaoke videos.  Home gardening has also surged in popularity. Here in New Gloucester, growing a garden is a popular pastime for many residents and remains so today.  Many of us are dreaming and scheming of the upcoming growing seasons of spring, summer and fall when we can dig in the dirt and produce a harvest of vegetables, herbs and flowers.

One great way to enhance a garden, container garden or landscaping soil is to utilize compost. In short, compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a soil amendment and fertilizer.  It’s a beneficial way to manage nature and household leftovers such as yard debris, grass clippings and food scraps. It can significantly improve soil and plant quality, increase disease resistance, at no or low-cost, without using harmful synthetics, inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. In addition compost  provides moisture to the soil and promotes the local eco-system of living organisms (i.e., worms and insects) and micro-organisms (i.e., nematodes and algae).

Composting at home is a rewarding endeavor. There are various methods of hot or cold composting that can be utilized,  just as there are various structures (or non-structures) to choose.  From plastic or metal tumblers to DIY cattle wire or pallet bins, from sheet composting to the commercial windrow technique, the method can be  chosen according  to your lifestyle and approach to efficiency.

The Environmental Protection Agency website has a thorough article covering all the basics for starting and/or enhancing home composting. The basic components are four ingredients: green and  brown materials, air and water.  Acceptable green and brown materials are listed in detail in the EPA article. In addition, safety precautions and materials to avoid are included to keep your family and garden soil healthy. 

Here’s to a thriving and sustainable New Gloucester and an early spring!