Over the past few weeks, the first-year foundations kids have been constructing composters, and this past Friday, they went out into the courtyard to put their newly composters into use.
For those who don't know, composting is done by taking dead and dying organic matter and allowing it to naturally decompose to use as a fertilizer for the soil. Sometimes people use worms (making it vermicompost) to make the material break down faster. We use compost year-round in our classroom and out in the courtyard, which is why this lesson is so important for the new students coming into the program.
What you should put into compost can be divided into two categories- browns and greens. Browns would include things like dead leaves, hay, straw, tea bags, sawdust, and other things of that nature. Greens would be lawn clippings, fruit or vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, fresh manure, plant cuttings, and so on.
However, please avoid using whole eggs, meat, bones, fatty foods, poultry and fish, dairy, feces, weeds, and treated wood. These materials will still decompose, but it will take much, much longer for the compost to be ready to use, as it uses up the oxygen that the helpful bacteria need to break everything down. If you're not sure if something should be composted, look it up first, rather than risking a slow composting process.
And don't forget some dirt (and worms, if you're making vermicompost).
Compost is beyond beneficial to the environment. It reduces the amount of solid waste in landfills, doesn't contain harmful chemicals that could runoff into our waterways, and it can revitalize soil that has already been damaged by such chemicals. Plus, it's super easy, so why not? We love composting!!!