Composting is a sacred act. A person who composts thoughtfully is a shepherd over the transformation from death into life. Without the holy cycle of decay and rebirth that the composter harnesses for her garden, life on this planet could not exist.
Composting is far more than just free fertilizer for the garden. It’s a vital and necessary sustainability strategy for reducing waste, closing the nutrient cycle, and preventing air pollution that causes climate change.
Composting can remove 20-50% from your household waste stream, reducing the burden on landfills while replenishing your lawn, trees, houseplants, or garden for free. (And if you pay for trash pick-up, composting can save you money there, too.)
When organic matter like food waste goes to the landfill, it ends up decomposing anaerobically—or without oxygen. This process creates methane, a greenhouse gas 20-35 times more potent than carbon dioxide at warming our planet. Landfills are the United States’ third largest source of methane emissions, according to the EPA.
If we composted food and other organic waste instead of throwing it away, we’d need fewer landfills, and they wouldn’t emit methane. Food does not belong in landfills.
Compost = Life
For your soil, there is no more powerful ingredient than compost. Whether you till it into your garden beds or use it as mulch around shrubs and trees, it is considered essential to organic and sustainable food production. Once it’s in the soil, finished compost—or humus—increases fertility, adds both micro- and macronutrients, buffers pH, prevents diseases, breaks down toxins, and improves soil structure.
But even if you don’t have a garden, composting is still a vitally important practice. We humans take far more carbon, minerals and organic matter from the soil than we put back. But without humus, soil becomes dead, inert mineral dust that won’t grow anything but weeds.
Returning as much of our organic waste as we can to the soil will begin to rebalance the nutrient cycle we depend on for our very survival.
A compost pile can be as easy as starting a heap of veggie scraps, dead leaves, and grass clippings in the far corner of your yard, but most people like to contain their compost in a neat-looking compost bin.The basics of composting are simple. Pretty much anything that once lived or was made from a living thing can be composted. As long as an item contains all natural components, it will decay, decompose and break down, returning it’s nutrients to the soil.
There are many different kinds of compost bins to fit every living situation: simple pallet bins, tumblers that make turning the compost easy, towers for urban yards and small spaces, and even worm composters that will make fast, odorless work of all your table scraps in the space under your kitchen sink. Select the bin style that works for you, and if it is an outdoor model, install it near the garden, away from your house.
Once you have reached a critical mass of scraps in your bin (usually about a cubic yard of material or a 3’x3’x3′ pile), it will begin to noticeably break down. After everything has decomposed and transformed into dark, rich-smelling, crumbly humus (see picture above), you can sprinkle it around your trees, lawn, garden or houseplants to help them grow.
Considered “black gold” by most gardeners, even if you don’t garden yourself, you could easily give your compost away to your neighborhood green thumb! She’d be so grateful. Avid gardeners never seem to have enough compost.
Speeding Up Your Compost
If you leave an apple on a table, it will eventually decay and break down into a little pile of dirt. There’s really nothing you need to do to get compost to happen except make a pile of things to rot outside. But if you want to get your compost pile to break down quickly and evenly so you can use it regularly in your garden, here are a few things to keep in mind:
The Right Balance
An efficient compost pile is a careful balance of dry or brown things that contain carbon (like leaves, straw, or paper) and wet or green things that contain nitrogen (like food scraps or rabbit droppings).
So, for example, if you add a lot of shredded leaves or cardboard to the pile, you will need to balance and mix it with a nice heap of fresh grass clippings or horse manure, and probably some water from the hose so things don’t get too dry.
I like to keep a small stockpile of horse manure (green) and straw (brown) on hand nearby as fodder to keep my pile in balance so it decomposes quickly.
Small Surface Area
The smaller you can shred or chop your compostable items before you put them into the pile, the faster and more evenly they will decompose. It’s really worth the extra effort to chop and shred if you plan to use your compost for vegetable gardening.
Put slow-composting things like tree branches, nut shells, hair, latex, and old rope into a separate pile at the back of your lot, while keeping your faster compost pile closer to the garden.
Air and Water
Turn your compost pile weekly to mix and aerate it, which will help everything to decompose much faster. You can do this with a pitchfork, but a compost tumbler bin can make this incredibly easy.
Make sure your compost pile stays moist, like a damp sponge. Hose it down if it’s too dry; turn it more often if it’s too wet. The balanced combination of air and moisture in the pile ensures that the microorganisms breaking down your compost have everything they need to thrive and reproduce themselves.
Know Your Limits
While you technically can compost any food, animal-based or plant-based item, some things are better left out of the average home compost pile. For example, if you add fish, meat or a lot of fat to your compost pile, as they decompose, they will create a strong smell that will annoy your neighbors and bring every critter for miles to your yard! When in doubt, leave it out.
Also consider how much space you have to compost. For example, if you live in an apartment, you will be limited to vermicomposting just your kitchen scraps. But that doesn’t mean you can’t compost other things. Does your city have a municipal composting program or a community garden that composts? Do you have a friend who gardens, who might like to have your coffee grounds or birdcage papers?
Everything we can do to keep compostable materials out of the landfill will help prevent pollution and restore our depleted soils.
100 Things You Can Compost
The following list is meant to get you thinking about your compost possibilities. Imagine how much trash we could prevent from going into the landfills if each of us just decided to compost a few more things!
From the Kitchen
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Egg shells (crushed)
- Coffee grounds
- Coffee filters
- Tea bags (Make sure they are made of natural materials like hemp or cotton, and not rayon or other synthetics. If in doubt, just open it and compost the tea leaves alone.)
- Loose leaf tea
- Spoiled soy/rice/almond/coconut milk
- Used paper napkins and paper towels
- Unwaxed cardboard pizza boxes (ripped or cut into small pieces)
- Paper bags (shredded)
- The crumbs you sweep off of the counters and floors
- Cooked pasta
- Cooked rice
- Stale bread, pitas, or tortillas
- Stale tortilla chips or potato chips
- Spoiled pasta sauce or tomato paste
- Crumbs from the bottom of snack food packaging
- Paper towel rolls (shredded)
- Stale crackers
- Stale cereal
- Cardboard boxes from cereal, pasta, etc. (Remove any plastic windows and shred)
- Used paper plates (as long as they don’t have a waxy coating)
- Nut shells (except for walnut shells, which are toxic to plants)
- Spoiled tofu and tempeh
- Seaweed, kelp or nori
- Unpopped, burnt popcorn kernels
- Old herbs and spices
- Stale pretzels
- Stale candy (crushed or chopped)
- Stale protein or “energy” bars
- Pizza crusts
- Old oatmeal
- Peanut shells
- Cardboard egg cartons (cut them up)
- Stale pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds (chopped up so they can’t sprout)
- Avocado pits (chopped up so they don’t sprout)
- Wine corks (chop up so they decompose faster)
- Moldy cheese (in moderation)
- Melted ice cream (in moderation)
- Old jelly, jam, or preserves
- Stale beer and wine
- Bamboo skewers (break them into pieces)
- Paper cupcake or muffin cups
From the Bathroom
- Used facial tissues
- Hair from your hairbrush
- Trimmings from an electric razor
- Toilet paper rolls (shredded)
- Old loofahs (cut up, natural only)
- Nail clippings
- 100% latex or lambskin condoms
- 100% cotton cotton balls
- Cotton swabs made from 100% cotton and cardboard (not plastic) sticks
- 100% cotton tampons and sanitary pads (including used)
- Cardboard tampon applicators
- Menstrual blood
From the Laundry Room
- Dryer lint (from 100% natural fabrics only!)
- Old cotton clothing and jeans (ripped or cut into small pieces)
- Cotton fabric scraps (shredded)
- Old wool clothing (ripped or cut into small pieces)
- Old cotton towels and sheets (shredded)
From the Office
- Bills and other plain paper documents (shredded)
- Envelopes (shredded, minus the plastic window)
- Pencil shavings
- Sticky notes (shredded)
- Old business cards (shredded, as long as they’re not glossy)
Around the House
- “Dust bunnies” from wood and tile floors
- Contents of your dustpan (pick out any inorganic stuff, like pennies and Legos)
- Crumbs from under your couch cushions (again, pick out any inorganic stuff)
- Newspapers (shredded or torn into smaller pieces)
- Junk mail (shredded, remove coated paper and plastic windows)
- Subscription cards from magazines (shredded)
- Burlap sacks (cut or torn into small pieces)
- Old rope and twine (chopped, natural, unwaxed only)
- Leaves trimmed from houseplants
- Dead houseplants and their soil
- Flowers from floral arrangements
- Natural potpourri
- Used matches
- Ashes from the fireplace, barbecue grill, or outdoor fire pits (in moderation)
- Grass clippings
- Dead autumn leaves
- Sawdust (from plain wood that has NOT been pressure-treated, stained or painted)
Party and Holiday Supplies
- Wrapping paper rolls (cut into smaller pieces)
- Paper table cloths (shredded or torn into smaller pieces)
- Crepe paper streamers (shredded)
- Latex balloons
- Jack O’lanterns (smashed)
- Those hay bales you used as part of your outdoor fall decor (broken apart)
- Natural holiday wreaths (chop up with pruners first)
- Christmas trees (chop up with pruners first, or use a wood chipper, if you have one…)
- Evergreen garlands (chop up with pruners first)
- Fur from the dog or cat brush
- Droppings and bedding from your rabbit, gerbil, hamster, etc.
- Newspaper/droppings from the bottom of the bird or snake cage
- Horse, cow or goat manure
- Alfalfa hay or pellets (usually fed to rabbits, gerbils, etc.)
- Dry dog or cat food, fish pellets
Just imagine if all of us kept so many things out of the landfills and returned their nutrients to the earth?
For a truly sustainable future that our great-grandchildren can thrive in, closing the nutrient cycle by composting is essential, or we will deplete our precious soils into dust. Good thing it is such an easy and frugal thing to do! ( Source)
“MY SURVIVAL FARM”
…and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before… An A to Z guide on survival gardening that is easy to read and a joy to put into practice, full of photos, diagrams and step by step advice. Even a kid can do this and, in fact, I encourage you to let the little ones handle it, to teach them not just about self-reliance but also about how Mother Nature works.
Here is just a glimpse of what you’ll find inside:
How to plan, design and put into action high-yield survival garden that will literally keep you and your family fed for life, no matter what hits you, even when everyone else around you is starving to death. No digging and planting year after year and no daily watering because you’ll have more important things to worry about when TSHTF.
How to set up highly nutritious soil for your plants. Do this before you plant anything and you’re on your way to setting your food forest on auto-pilot for decades to come. I’m gonna tell you this one “weird” thing to add to the mulch that’s not only highly effective but also 100% free (because you already have it in your home right now).
Step-by-step instructions on how to plant over 125 plants inside your permaculture garden. Plus, special instructions on choosing the right ones for your climate. From Arizona to Alaska, you can do this anywhere…
How to “marry” your plants. We’re gonna tell you which grow well together and help each-other survive and thrive, so they don’t ever compete for sunlight and nutrients. You get the full table of plants that work well with one another as well as the ones you should NEVER be put together. (Source)
Our grandfathers had more knowledge than any of us today and thrived even when modern conveniences were not available. They were able to produce and store their food for long periods of time. The Lost Ways is the most comprehensive book available. All the knowledge our grandfathers had, in one place.Here’s just a glimpse of what you’ll find in the book:
Table Of Contents:
Making Your Own Beverages: Beer to Stronger Stuff
Ginger Beer: Making Soda the Old Fashioned Way
How North American Indians and Early Pioneers Made Pemmican
Wild West Guns for SHTF and a Guide to Rolling Your Own Ammo
How Our Forefathers Built Their Sawmills, Grain Mills,and Stamping Mills
How Our Ancestors Made Herbal Poultice to Heal Their Wounds
What Our Ancestors Were Foraging For? or How to Wildcraft Your Table
How North California Native Americans Built Their Semi-subterranean Roundhouses
Our Ancestors’Guide to Root Cellars
Good Old Fashioned Cooking on an Open Flame
Learning from Our Ancestors How to Preserve Water
Learning from Our Ancestors How to Take Care of Our Hygiene When There Isn’t Anything to Buy
How and Why I Prefer to Make Soap with Modern Ingredients
Temporarily Installing a Wood-Burning Stove during Emergencies
Making Traditional and Survival Bark Bread…….
Trapping in Winter for Beaver and Muskrat Just like Our Forefathers Did
How to Make a Smokehouse and Smoke Fish
Survival Lessons From The Donner Party
Get your paperback copy HERE
Here’s just a glimpse of what you’ll find in The Lost Ways:
From Ruff Simons, an old west history expert and former deputy, you’ll learn the techniques and methods used by the wise sheriffs from the frontiers to defend an entire village despite being outnumbered and outgunned by gangs of robbers and bandits, and how you can use their wisdom to defend your home against looters when you’ll be surrounded.
Native American ERIK BAINBRIDGE – who took part in the reconstruction of the native village of Kule Loklo in California, will show you how Native Americans build the subterranean roundhouse, an underground house that today will serve you as a storm shelter, a perfectly camouflaged hideout, or a bunker. It can easily shelter three to four families, so how will you feel if, when all hell breaks loose, you’ll be able to call all your loved ones and offer them guidance and shelter? Besides that, the subterranean roundhouse makes an awesome root cellar where you can keep all your food and water reserves year-round.
From Shannon Azares you’ll learn how sailors from the XVII century preserved water in their ships for months on end, even years and how you can use this method to preserve clean water for your family cost-free.
Mike Searson – who is a Firearm and Old West history expert – will show you what to do when there is no more ammo to be had, how people who wandered the West managed to hunt eight deer with six bullets, and why their supply of ammo never ran out. Remember the panic buying in the first half of 2013? That was nothing compared to what’s going to precede the collapse.
From Susan Morrow, an ex-science teacher and chemist, you’ll master “The Art of Poultice.” She says, “If you really explore the ingredients from which our forefathers made poultices, you’ll be totally surprised by the similarities with modern medicines.” Well…how would you feel in a crisis to be the only one from the group knowledgeable about this lost skill? When there are no more antibiotics, people will turn to you to save their ill children’s lives.
If you liked our video tutorial on how to make Pemmican, then you’ll love this: I will show you how to make another superfood that our troops were using in the Independence war, and even George Washington ate on several occasions. This food never goes bad. And I’m not talking about honey or vinegar. I’m talking about real food! The awesome part is that you can make this food in just 10 minutes and I’m pretty sure that you already have the ingredients in your house right now.
Really, this is all just a peek.
The Lost Ways is a far–reaching book with chapters ranging from simple things like making tasty bark-bread-like people did when there was no food-to building a traditional backyard smokehouse… and many, many, many more!
The Lost Ways (Learn the long forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive famines,wars,economic crisis and anything else life threw at them)
Survival MD (Best Post Collapse First Aid Survival Guide Ever)
Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )
Liberty Generator (Build and make your own energy source)
Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)
Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )
Family Self Defense (Best Self Defense Strategies For You And Your Family)
Survive Any Crisis (Best Items To Hoard For A Long Term Crisis)
Survive The End Days (Biggest Cover Up Of Our President)