Composting is one of the easist, cheapest, and best things that you can do to move towards a sustainable lifestyle. It is the ultimate in recycling, taking what we once thought of as garbage and using using it to create something new, valuable, and edible. Compost is valuable. Your vegetable garden will come alive as a result of your scraps, chicken droppings, used paper, old newpapers, etc. Simply throwing your refuse in your bin creates a magic mixture for your garden. It could not be easier.
There some myths about composting that probably need to be cleared up, that say that composting is smelly and compost attracts vermin. Neither of these are true. It is only true if you compost incorrectly. You just want to be sure to keep meat and dairy products out of your compost.
Here is what you can compost:
Paper towels, cardboard rolls, cereal boxes, brown paper bags, shredded newspapers, etc
Fruits and vegetables
Coffee grounds and filters, tea and tea bags
Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
Crushed eggshells (but not eggs)
Grass clippings, yard trimmings, leaves, hay and straw
Hair and fur
Wood chips, sawdust, etc.
Animal manure (not pet waste)
Do not compost:
Meat, fish, egg or poultry scraps
Fats, grease, or oils
Coal or charcoal ash
Anything treated with pesticides
A word about composting chicken droppings. There is no manure more desired for the vegetable garden than chicken manure. But, is important to let your chicken droppings compost for 6-9 months. Because of the time factor you might want to compost chicken manure seperately. Chicken droppings are very high in nitrogen and need to be fully composted or the nitrogen will burn your plants. Don't let this scare you away. The high nitrogen and other nutrients are the reason that chicken manure compost is the best kind of manure to use. Composting chicken manure will mellow the nitrogen. Composting it is easy. Use the bedding from your own chickens. Take the used bedding and put it into a compost bin. Water it thoroughly and turn it every few weeks to get air into the pile. Once composted, this is indeed a miracle growing mixture.
You probably want to invest in a composter. I found a great deal on a composter (link below) through Amazon. You can pay more, but it really is not necessary. The reviews on this one are good and you want to keep your expenses down at first. This would be good for any composting, but especially good if you want a second one for chicken manure.
Another composting option is an indoor worm composter. You can put this in your garage or pantry. The advantages are significant. Let me start by saying there is no smell. Here are the other advantages: worms convert most kitchen scraps into finished compost in less than two weeks, make compost year round, and worm castings are rich in nutrients. Worm compost has ten times the nutrient levels of regular compost. You will get better results with this and it is totally organic. In an indoor worm composter, worms start at the bottom and migrate upwards as they go, leaving behind tray after tray of rich compost. A reservoir at the bottom captures "worm tea" — an ideal, odor-free liquid fertilizer. Go to the link below from Gardener's Supply Company to order the indoor worm composter. The kit includes an instructional dvd, compost thermometer, rake, scraper and bedding material (worms sold seperately). By using the link on this site, you will get 10% off.
CompostBins.com also has some great worm composters. I particularly like the VermiHut 3-TrayRecycled Plastic Worm Composter in TerraCotta. It is on sale at a great price of $74.98, with free shipping.
Backyard garden and chicken consultations are $60 in the Metro Atlanta counties of Gwinnett, Fulton, DeKalb, Rockdale and Henry. We are willing to travel outside of these areas for an additional travel fee.