The holidays draw near and I notice in this time of giving I’ve spent a lot of my time wondering how to better connect with those around me in a beneficial way. At a time where being a hero sometimes means staying at home, how can we still feel like we’re making a difference? One way that I’ve been researching is cultivating a garden with compost. Gardening can do a lot for you and those around you, in many ways. You can grow flowers to give your home a pop of color, fresh vegetables and fruit for your kitchen, herbs and spices for your pantry, whatever you feel you’d like most!
All you need are some seeds and the right soil, which can both be purchased for less than $30 together online from many different sites like Gardeners.com, Amazon, or Parkseed to start your very own garden. The responsibility keeps you focused and the day to day care allows you to watch your plants grow and feel the pride of success, then when they’re ready you reap the benefits and get a beautiful/delicious/healthy reward! Treating your body well is more important than ever, not only because staying healthy keeps your mind happy, but because keeping your immune system strong is an important way to protect those around you.
Another way a garden can help you be a hero is through the excess that comes out of it. Flowers can be turned into decorations for your home or your neighbors, extra food you grow can be given to family and friends who might not have access to homegrown goods. Even back to the community to help those in need, donating your produce to a local food bank or homeless shelter, most of which are in real need of support right now. When you incorporate compost your garden can even offset its own cost, saving you money on soil by recycling its byproducts and waste.
Through composting, you can turn your table scraps into nutrient rich earth, using a small compost area to recycle your organic byproducts into fuel for your garden to grow! Depending on your method of compost, you can recycle food scraps, unused leftovers, even cardboard and paper, offsetting your carbon footprint and sustaining yourself at the same time. Composting, especially at home, might seem intense from the outside, but it’s actually so easy, and incredibly rewarding! And there are a ton of ways to do it. Looking for a way to compost outside where you live? Look around for a farmer’s market or community garden, these places almost always are looking for composted soil, or themselves have composting areas for the community to use. Some cities even have composting services, or may subsidize an area on your property. All it takes is a phone call!
If you want to try something simple at home, the most common choice is a compost bin stocked with nitrogen, carbon, and earthworms. You can create your own easily, or buy one online. This is best if you’re only planning on using waste from your garden, as the earthworms feed on vegetables, not dairy, meat or grains. If worms are a little too much for you, or you’re looking to compost more than just produce, there are multiple other options for your home. One option is the electronic composter, which is a little more expensive but makes the process as easy as placing your food scraps inside and hitting a button. However, those models can get upwards of half a thousand dollars, so while they’re convenient, the price might be a bit steep if you’re just starting out.
The most user friendly and effective method you can do from your own home seems to be a special device called a bokashi box, basically a bucket with a nozzle at the bottom to release liquid waste. A full kit is only $50 on Amazon, and can be easily set up anywhere in your home. Using a mixture of water, sugar, and carbon rich base like rice husks, coffee grounds, or wheat bran, the box is able to break down all food waste, even meats and dairy products, which can’t normally be recycled using most at home composting systems. As you can see, there are many ways to compost, I encourage you to go out and research and see if composting is right for you.