*Written By: Emily Post*
If you make just one change to up your Earth-love game this year, consider taking on composting. Composting is one of the most important activities we as individuals can do for the future of our planet.
Here are some great reasons to compost at home, or sign up for a compost program:
1. We all know that rotting vegetables in our refrigerator are gross (stay tuned for a post coming up on how to prevent them from going from yum to yuck so quickly!), but rotting veggies in our yard are just the thing to help our soils grow healthier, more nutritious plants. Compost gives your plants nutrients – it’s like fertilizer without all the yucky chemicals. Plus, it’s easy and free to do. By composting your food scraps, you can up your gardening level and give your plants the extra lift they need in Colorado’s clay soils without having to buy anything at all!
2. If you are a gardener, you probably already know that composting helps your plants grow, but did you know compost also helps keep your soil moist so you don’t have to water as often (super important for Colorado’s dry climate!)? For example, if you add 5 pounds of compost to 100 pounds of soil, it can hold in 200 pounds of water for your plants to drink!
3. Compost helps keep beneficial bugs in your garden, such as earthworms, and other micro-bugs that help cut down on predator bugs. Plus, when your plants are healthy, they can fend off the bad bugs better.
4. Composting is easy to learn! After I became a master composter through Denver Urban Gardens, I was surprised to find how many people were scared of composting. Composting is as easy as throwing some browns and greens into a compost tumbler, or even the corner of your yard, keeping it moist, and turning it every once in a while. You’ll see exact ratios around for how much browns and how much greens to put in your pile, but Mother Nature isn’t so rigid. Think about a forest floor – Mother Nature just throws things on the ground and they decompose. However, since you are doing it in your backyard, you’ll want it to decompose more quickly than a forest floor, which is where the turning and watering come in. See, easy 😊 Here is a picture of the (snowy) compost systems in my backyard. In the first picture, the sections are just there to help me turn/rotate the compost to give it air flow!
5. Compost also helps keep waste out of our landfills. About 50 percent of what we send to the landfill is compostable matter. When organic matter (as in, things that were once alive) go into a landfill, they enter an anaerobic environment (meaning devoid of oxygen), and create methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas. When you send things off to a landfill, you are sending it to be entombed forever. By composting in your backyard, you are reducing the amount of methane released.
Here are some ways that you can EASILY start composting this year:
1. This summer, GoFarm will be offering opportunities to learn to compost, so be on the lookout for those workshops coming up! GoFarm will also be collecting compost at each Local Food Share Distribution location, so you can get in the habit of collecting your food scraps to bring with you when you pick up.
2. Find a neighbor who composts and share your scraps with them!
3. Sign up for Share Waste or download the app to find people to take your compost or find people to give you things to compost
4. Sign up for a compost service! Here are some options to check out:
- Alpine Waste (Golden only)
- Scraps (Denver only)
- Denver Compost Service (Denver only)
- Denver Compost Collective (Denver area)
- City Scraps (Lakewood and Golden area)
- Rocky Mountain Composting (Arvada area)