Frequently Asked Composting Questions
Do I have enough space to compost?
There is a composting system for every kind of lifestyle, space, and budget. What it really comes down to is these three questions:
How much waste do you create?
What are your goals for composting? Creating soil or diverting waste?
What volume can you reasonably compost?
If you start small until you get comfortable with how the system you’re using works, then you can increase your efforts. If you start big and don’t know what you’re doing, then you might not be able to keep up with the composting once everything starts to decompose. Biting off more than you can chew is where you can run into problems.
Be realistic and choose the composing style that fits where your situation. There are many different commercial products you can buy to use in composting as well as a variety of DIY options. Read more about the options available to you here.
What can I compost?
The better question is what can’t you compost. At the same time, it’s best to check out our guide where we go over what can and can’t be tossed on the heap.
Is compost soil?
Compost is not soil, but compost is in soil.
Compost improves soil by bulking up its organic matter and improving moisture and nutrient retention. It breaks up heavy clay soils, improving drainage. It improves sandy soils by helping to add moisture. If it sounds pretty amazing, that’s because it is! It’s no accident that compost is nicknamed “black gold” for the value it adds to the soil.
Unlike soil, compost does not (or should not, at least) contain things like sand, silt, and clay. Compost is organic matter and only organic matter.
Compost is a soil amendment, which means it can’t be used alone to grow plants. It needs to be mixed with soil. Compost is just too moist and too full of nutrient assets—planting your garden in straight compost would be like taking a dozen vitamins and chugging two gallons of water.
Do I need it to garden?
Healthier soil grows healthier plants. And compost makes the soil healthier. It improves soil structure, stabilizes pH, and adds important organisms to the soil. Compost can help your plants resist diseases and insects, grow more heartily, and produce more. Healthier soil=more veggies.
Compost isn’t just for vegetable-producing garden beds; use it on everything from flowers to herbs, and even houseplants. It can be used outdoors, indoors, in containers or raised beds, and right on the ground.
Does compost smell?
No, compost doesn’t smell bad. At least, not if it’s being processed properly. It should smell like fresh, rich dirt. If it doesn’t then something is going wrong.
In this article we discuss reasons compost odor might appear and ways you can avoid it!
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