Homegrown | Getting Started with Backyard Composting


Hi, I’m Rhonda Sherman. I’m an Extension
Specialist at NC State University and this is Homegrown in the Garden. You’re
at my compost learning lab where I have a variety of compost bins. You can see
there are about 14 different types of compost bins here. So, composting is very
important because you can put your yard waste and your food scraps into the
compost bin and it will turn it into a valuable product to enhance your soil
and plants. First, I’m going to show you a rotating bin. This is very popular, a lot
of people like to buy a bin like this. But, they’re very expensive. A lot of
times they’ll cost between 200 and 400 dollars. And, with all these people
contacting me from all over the United States, most of the people have told me
that they can’t get the tumbler bin to work well. Here’s another type of bin and
you can see that it has aeration, like all of these slats bring in air, and then
there’s a lot of air available for the microorganisms on top here, but it’s a
little too much. So the only thing I would say about a bin like this is I
would want to cover the top of it because otherwise it’s going to dry out
too much. It’s important for your compost, for the material in your compost bin, to
be 50 percent moisture level by weight. And what that is like is a damp sponge. So
now I’m going to show you the most popular bin in the United States. And it
works really well, it has some really good features. You can see that there are
air holes just in strategic places but it’s not all over, because the biggest
problem with composting is that people don’t let the pile stay
moist enough. And so this will help hold in moisture. And you can see it has a
locking lid so moisture is not going to escape through the top of the lid, and
it’s a nice size for getting at the compost in there. You take
your digging fork and you can just turn your material so what I put in here is I
collect leaves during the fall and I keep a pile of leaves next to my compost
bin and then I put a bunch of leaves in my bin and then I bring out my food
waste that I keep in the freezer and then I just dump my food waste in there
and then I cover it up. So you cover it up with this material and then it
doesn’t smell, it will break down very quickly, within a few months. To remove
the compost, there’s a door right here and so generally you would take a shovel
or a digging fork and you would pull the material out of that door. So this site
shows a variety of compost bins but you don’t have to have a bin you could just
have a pile where you pile up leaves in your backyard and then you can compost
it there. With a bin, it helps to keep the materials tidy and it can keep pests
from from getting into the bin. So this is Rhonda Sherman for Homegrown in the
Garden. Thank you and enjoy composting. Be sure to check out my website.

1 thought on “Homegrown | Getting Started with Backyard Composting

  1. Ma'am, what if all you have is a pile of grass clippings , leaves, and food scraps? Should I keep a tarp over it to hold in the moisture? I try to turn the pile over once every two weeks. Thanks for the work you do for the backyard and the full time farmers. Go Wolfpack, Glen Class of 87

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