It’s Autumn in the northern hemisphere and the perfect time to start getting composting. Here are some great composting tips for kids and yourselves to make sure come spring you have the best compost in the neighbourhood.
Basics of Composting
Composting is a great way to recycle kitchen scraps and garden waste while creating an awesome and free plant food. Good compost needs a balance between carbon and nitrogen materials. Carbon materials are the brown stuff – autumn leaves, straw and dried garden waste. Nitrogen materials are the green stuff – kitchen scraps, flowers and grass clippings. To be scientific about it, the ideal compost ratio is 25 units of carbon for every unit of nitrogen. But you don’t need to be a scientist to know if you have the right compost balance. Good compost has a wonderful rich, earthy smell and it is light and fluffy in texture. If your compost looks and smells like this then you are doing well.
Getting Kids Composting at home
In our house, we know when the compost balance is wrong because it starts to stink! With a family of four, we produce plenty of kitchen scraps to feed our compost. The problem is, we don’t have access to a lot of carbon material. Living in the city with very few deciduous trees in our small garden turns our compost bin into a stinky pile of nitrogen rich material. Autumn is the perfect time to fix this problem and the kids love to help.
During autumn we take a day trip out to visit family in the country who have lots of deciduous trees…. and we come armed with lots of bags. The kids love to help collect bag after bag of dried brown leaves. They also love to kick the leaves, run through them and jump into huge piles. It is always a fun day.
We collect as many brown leaves as we can carry and take them home to stockpile. Throughout the following months the dry, brown leaves are slowly added by the handful to our compost bin bringing the compost back into balance. We don’t add too many in one go as they can mat together. The kids get excited to investigate whether the compost bin still smells and like to know that their collected leaves are being put to good use.
Have too many brown leaves? Then check back here next week to find out how to establish a leaf bin.
For more information on composting they are some great articles at eartheasy.