Composting can be a lot of fun for anyone, from avid gardeners to novices alike. But one of the misconstrued beliefs that arise when people think of composting is that it's the result of smelly garbage that hasn't been properly disposed of, which in turn is a recipe for pests and all sorts of other trouble. This myth is exactly that, a myth! Contrary to popular belief, composting is an organic process that creates nutrient rich soil, popularly known as black gold, from leftover food scraps and yard waste. If done properly, your compost should not emit a foul odor, but rather a fresh, earthy smell.
To ensure that you will have a successful compost heap and experience, here are a few things to keep in mind before you begin:
Assuming you live in a city or municipality that does not allow open compost heaps, go ahead and invest in a compost bin or compost tumbler. Having one place to add all your organic matter in to will make the composting process much easier, and in most cases will keep the process on a regularly consistent decomposing speed.
The next step is to start collecting organic matter to place into your compost bin. Food scraps such as cut up pieces of fruit rinds, cabbage leaves, vegetable stalks and coffee grounds make for great composting. Coffee grounds are especially excellent for the composting process because they act as activators, which create heat for your compost pile. Just remember to never add meat and dairy products, bones, fats and oils to your compost; these products won't decompose properly, smell foul after a couple hours, and attract pests. Yard waste such as non-diseased weeds and plants, grass clippings and leaves are essential for your compost since they're rich in nitrogen.
To nip the problem of pests, rodents and other wildlife rummaging around in your compost right in the butt, here are a few tips to keep in mind. Generally, animals are attracted by the smell of meat, dairy products and fatty foods; adding these items is like giving an open invitation for wildlife to invade your compost. In addition, you should always be sure to have a tight fitting lid on your bin or tumbler so that none of your compost is exposed.
If done correctly, your finished product should smell earthy and not putrid. Once you have enough organic matter, it's time to add this rich, black gold into your garden's soil to prolong a fruitful life for your garden. Remember, it's all a trial and error process, so be sure to have fun!