Composting is for the birds!
Okay, that might not be your first thought when you think of composting. But two main benefits of composting, soil health and reducing waste, are important keys to helping the birds and all wildlife.
Waste that can be composted such as vegetable scraps, newspaper, egg shells, coffee grounds and yard waste are completely useless if they go to a landfill. In fact, they actually become more harmful. This type of waste as it gets buried in an airless environment creates high levels of methane gas when it breaks down. The less we can add to existing landfills, the better.
Compost feeds soil the nutrients it needs: nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium as well as smaller amounts of micronutrients such as magnesium, calcium, iron and sulfur. More benefits of compost on your soil include regulating soil pH, improving the soil texture, and encouraging the microbes that move nutrients to the plants. Healthier soil means healthier plants and you won’t have to buy fertilizer.
Compost helps promote the growth of microorganisms, insects and worms. So really, composting is for the birds!
There are a lot of online resources on how to compost. I literally just started with a wooden box after a co-worker gave me some wood from a dismantled swing set. I throw in newspaper, vegetables and brush – and it works. When I turn it over, I get dark, organic matter and a million worms. It never stinks and doesn’t cost more than a little labor to turn it and then spread it around the plants or in the garden.
Inside, I use a five-gallon bucket that I alternate with scraps and shredded newspaper.
The Ohio Birdfreak compost set up in the upper left corner of the garden (below photo) – it looks white from some cornstarch peanuts and shredded paper
It is more difficult to compost if you are in an apartment but it can be doable! One way that has become popular in schools is to vermicompost: this uses worms in a bin system that can be easy to make (or buy ready to go). The main issue might be what to do with garden-ready compost if you have no place to put it. Contacting your city might be a good place to start or finding a friend with a garden who might take it.
It’s a good year to start up a compost bin this spring! It’s amazing how much less will end up in your trash can and really cool to see how your scraps become perfect organic matter. If you already compost, we would love to hear about your methods or any tips you have.