QUESTION: Are bananas good for compost? We eat a ton at my house, and I have been adding them to our composter. – Joanna G
ANSWER: Yes, bananas are good for composting and will break down and provide the compost with nutrients that are good for your garden’s soil. Like other food waste, the smaller the pieces, the faster it will break down. A full-sized banana or banana peel will take around four weeks to decompose, and will add a good amount of nitrogen to your compost. Good airflow is critical to getting bananas to break down in a compost bin, so be sure to turn your compost often, especially if you are adding bananas to the mix.
There’s little that makes you feel better than gardening with your own sustainably created compost. You’re not only fertilizing your plants—you’re also finding a way to recycle food waste. But the compost heap quickly becomes a source of stress and aggravation instead of pride and practicality when fruit flies make it their home. Whether you keep your compost pile indoors or out, fruit flies are an unsightly and annoying addition.
Every gardener knows that they ought to be making their own compost. Heck, even conscientious homeowners know they should be composting. The average American creates 1,600 pounds of waste every year and 65% of that is organic and could be composted rather than hauled off to a landfill.
Having plenty of rich compost on hand is also one of the very best things you can do for a garden. Plants that are somewhat sensitive like tomatoes absolutely love to start life in a big dollop of compost. Check out this guide to starting tomato plants for more tips on that front.
The thing that stopped me from composting for the longest time was just that it seems hard! Should I be using the hot method or the cold method? Do I have enough green versus brown material? Is it getting enough air? Enough water? What’s the carbon to nitrogen ratio?
This is all just stress you don’t need. Composting can be almost as easy as eating bon-bons while watching TV. Below I run through some of the world’s easiest methods for composting and give you a list of things you DON’T need to worry about.
Balancing ingredients – This is the whole green versus brown materials conundrum, but the thing to know is that balancing your materials is completely optional. This is important for commercial production but for your household needs, you can forget about it.
Hot or Cold – This also doesn’t matter much in terms of whether you get compost, it’s just a matter of how fast you get it. Hot composting is faster but takes quite a bit more effort and expertise.
To Turn or Not to Turn – Turning compost gets oxygen through the material but as long as it’s not too wet, compost will aerate itself as it shrinks down.
Size Doesn’t Matter – You hear a lot about how the compost pile needs to be 3 feet wide by 3 feet high, but that’s actually no guarantee that it will work better or faster. Your materials will rot regardless.
Whether the Compost is Done – This one might be a surprise, but if you check your pile and the compost isn’t really done yet, no big deal. You can plant in immature compost and cover it with soil. You can also put a layer of it down in the fall and cover it over for use the following spring.
Now that I’ve put your mind at ease, here are a couple super simple methods to get your home composting practice off the ground.
The Lawnmower Composting Method
I think this is the single easiest method of composting that exists. If executed properly, you do virtually nothing.
1) Have the neighborhood kid who mows your lawn put all the lawn clippings into a tall pile and have him add to that pile every time the lawn is cut. (If you’re mowing your own lawn, you need to work on your laziness.)
2) Water that pile just enough to moisten it all the way through with your hose. This concludes the work on your part.
3) Wait 12-18 months and then use the compost for gardening.
Below is an excellent video showing this method in action. You’ll notice that despite the name of the video he does quite a lot of work with a pitchfork, all of which can be avoided if you don’t need your compost quickly.
The Trash Can Composting Method
Have one of those old metal trash cans? If not, you can still probably find one at the dump and you will have one of the cheapest and finest composters a lazy gardener can own.
1) Punch some holes in the bottom of the can with a hammer and a large nail.
2) Set the can on 4 bricks to keep it off the ground.
3) Thrown in a few shovels full of garden soil, some kitchen scraps and some leaves or grass clippings (about 3 inches of each).
4) Keep putting in more of the compost materials as you have them, keeping the lid on the can.
5) Within about 3 months you’ll have perfect compost, all with no watering or turning.
Composting is one of the most environmentally friendly practices you can incorporate into your household. It’s also one of the key factors that can massively increase the productivity of your garden. Hopefully you’ve seen just how easy this can be…even lazy gardeners can do it!
Building your own DIY composter is an easy way to save money on garden supplies and keep materials out of the landfill.
Many DIY compost bins can be created from typical household items, making them extremely affordable. Construction methods range from simple to complex and a variety of materials can be used such as wood, brick, straw, plastic, and wire. Stationary bins are easy DIY projects if you remember the basic elements needed for compost to thrive: moisture, oxygen, and warm temperature.
We’ve scoured the web and picked out these different types of composters that you can build yourself so that you can easily choose a design you like and get started composting right away.
If we left any great DIY composter plans out, please leave a comment with a link so that we can check it out and possibly add it to the list.
When it comes to dog poop composting, you have to be careful.
You should never add dog poop to your regular compost bin or compost pile. It will just contaminate the rest of the pile or bin. Dog poop can contain pathogens that are unhealthy.
However, there are ways to compost dog poop. Most of them involve specifically designed in ground composters that work sort of like a septic system. Part of the bin will be buried into the ground, where it can break down over time and keep any potential pathogens away from the rest of your yard or garden.
The Doggie Dooley Dog Poop Composter Model 3000 is designed just like a mini septic tank. It has a galvanized steel tank with small drainage holes in the bottom. You bury it in the ground, where you only see the lid. You dig a hole 48 inches deep so that there is additional drainage room underneath the unit. It comes with a special digester enzyme that breaks down the poop and keeps the unit empty. It should never fill up if installed and used properly. This unit is not a good choice for clay soils with poor drainage, but a good choice for other types of soil. It is suitable for 2 large dogs or up to 4 smaller dogs. It costs in the $49 range, and comes with 6 months worth of enzyme. You can buy additional enzyme inexpensively. You have to keep everything moist and add water regularly to make it work.
The Deluxe Doggie Dooley Large Pyramid Dog Poop Composter is similar to the Model 3000, except that it uses a leech bed style system instead of a septic style system. That means that you don’t have to dig as deep of a hole underneath the unit when you install it. Once again, it comes with 6 month’s worth of enzymes, and is suitable for 4 small dogs or 2 big dogs. This dog poop composter also does not work well with heavy clay soil that doesn’t drain well. You have to add water regularly to keep everything breaking down correctly. It costs around $57 or so.