Get­ting started

Austin American-Statesman - - GARDENING -

“The first step would be to de­ter­mine the best sys­tem for you,” said Jen­nifer Jensen, founder of the Westch­ester County, N.Y., Mas­ter Com­post Pro­gram.

Some peo­ple opt to cre­ate a com­post pile in a corner of the back­yard, some­times en­closed by a wire, cage­like struc­ture, some­times not. Oth­ers pre­fer a large cov­ered bin that ro­tates. The price varies ac­cord­ing to the bin’s fea­tures, in­clud­ing whether it turns or stacks. Jensen said you can get a ba­sic black plas­tic bin with a screw-on top for about $100. Check your lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity or en­vi­ron­men­tal cen­ter, how­ever; some of­fer bins at a dis­count.

“A pile works just great for leaves and grass clip­pings, but when you want to in­cor­po­rate food waste, it’s time to use a bin to pre­vent ro­dents,” the EPA says in its guide to back­yard com­post­ing.

Apart­ment dwellers also can com­post right in their kitchens, some­times speed­ing the process with red wrig­gler worms or an­other species to break down or­ganic mat­ter. This is called ver­mi­com­post­ing. Spe­cial­ized bins are sold for indoor use, and the worms are avail­able on­line.

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