How to Compost at Home with your Children

With Earth Day on April 22nd, Hampton Roads Moms decided to share our own experience with composting — the basis of growing healthy plants.

Why Compost:

Do you want to grow your own fresh vegetables at home?  Then you need the perfect soil to grow healthy, vibrant plants.  The key to this is healthy soil which can be achieved by composting at home with everyday waste.

It’s green, it’s clean and environmentally friendly.  And it will also teach your children about the ecosystem in which they live.

Most folks don’t know that a good portion of their household waste can be composted in their own back yards, and the majority of the rest can be recycled. The least amount of waste that you can send to the landfill the better — which is why recycling is important and composting is beneficial for both you and the environment.

In Hampton Roads, we are lucky to live in a beautiful ecosystem that is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay and tons of rivers and streams.  It is important as parents that we do our part in keeping this area beautiful for our children and future generations.

Composting is an important part of our responsibility as residents to this area.  Every leaf that falls, every cracked egg for breakfast, every coffee grind from your morning coffee — that you  would normally toss in the trashcan, etc. (see list below) can be used in your compost pile.

How to do it:

1.  You need to have a place to put your compost.

Find an unused place in your yard that is out of the way — this will be your composting pile.

Some choose to put a fence around it or to box it off. Others use simple composting barrels that take up less space and with a simple turn can mix the debris and retain moisture which speeds up the decomposition process.

Instruments like the Yimby Tumbler Composter, Color Black or the Wizard Dueling 7 Cu. Ft. Tumbler Composter, Compost Container are highly recommended to easily get this process done. These are ideal for folks that live in close residential areas, such as town homes or condos.  Composters also speed up the process of decomposition and make it easier.

When we lived in our town home, we composted using a bin.  We were able to create enough dark rich soil to have our own planter garden on our deck.  Nothing was better than being able to pick fresh tomatoes or herbs from my back porch.

2. Start Composting

Sounds easy, right?  Well, it really is.

Below is a list of compostable materials for your pile:

  • Grass Clippings
  • Egg shells
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Coffee grinds, filters and tea bags
  • Leaves and sticks
  • Hay and Straw
  • Wood chips, bark or mulch
  • Nut Shells
  • Pine Needles
  • Any organic material

This is a great time to teach your child how to compost.  Put a sign near the trash can of items that can be composted and have them make a conscious decision about what goes into that pile, what goes into recycling, and the little that is left that goes in the trash.

It won’t take long for you all to realize the ease and benefits of recycling and composting.  The environment will thank you too!

3. Keep it Moist

The key to composting is to keep the compost pile moist.  The moisture helps to breakdown the compost pile and turn it into the dark, rich, nutritious soil that is ideal for gardening.

We find that watering your compost pile once or twice a week (depending on weather) will help to keep the pile the perfect level of moist.

4. Turn the Compost Pile

Don’t forget to turn the compost pile (or your tumblers — Yimby Tumbler Composter, Color Black or Wizard Dueling 7 Cu. Ft. Tumbler Composter, Compost Container).

If you are composting yourself, you should be turning the pile every two to three days using a shovel or rake.  This is a perfect time to include your kids in the process.  Have them try turning the pile and watch as the pile slowly decomposes.  That egg shell from omelets last weekend, all the sudden they’ll notice that it is almost gone.

Let your kid get dirty and examine the pile.  They will see nature come alive as bugs and worms come to munch on the fresh soil.

5. Use your compost

Now that you have created dark, rich and healthy soil — time to start a garden!

Whether it be a small planter garden on your deck or a massive garden in your yard, this soil will be the foundation of your plants health and the nutrients that they will give back to you when enjoying them.

Take your child to the store to select the seeds for the garden.  Allow them to pick out different vegetables that they will like to eat.

We have been buying our seeds from Heirloom Seeds for the past decade and have never been disappointed.

Enjoy Gardening.  And Happy Earth Day from Hampton Roads Moms!

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