Composting is based on the idea that soil quality is improved by the inclusion of decaying organic material. Composting commonly uses household scraps, such as peelings or spoiled foods, or yard waste, such as grass clippings, as raw material to convert into "compost".
Composting is one way of recycling. Instead of throwing out the household waste to be put into land fills, biodegradable materials such as vegetable scraps are turned into fertile soil.
The benefits are
- a free (or very cheap) fertilizer to keep the lawn and garden growing better,
- fertilizer that is better for the environment (doesn't upset the nitrogen balance in streams and places), and
- less garbage and landfill.
There are many devices available to turn organic waste into the soil enriching compost, but the simplest could be nothing more than a five gallon bucket with holes in it.
Composting is a long term process, with a complete cycle of approximately 6 months to two years. Variables that affect the length of time include frequency of aeration, ambiant tempurature, and mix of material to be composted. Some companies sell worms that will live in the developing compost/soil and help it to convert more quickly. And there are household composters that help speed the cycle—by making it easier to turn or rotate the contents or by holding the material off the ground and allowing more air to flow around it.
Composting occurs by a process very similar to the methane digesters used in large farms and environmentally friendly houses.
"If you have a wood-burning fireplace, save the ashes in a tin instead of throwing them away. Cold wood ashes can be mixed in your compost heap to create a valuable soil amendment that provides nutrients to your garden."