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Discovering Composting

Think of ‘composting’, especially if you live in the city, and you probably conjure up images of smelly open piles of steaming mess.


No way you can compost without land or open spaces, right? Wrong! There are so many green buzz words and activities linked to being more responsible for our planet, so lets pause for a second and discover what composting is. There are methods that date back to prehistoric times where farmers discovered that mixing manure with straw and other organic waste produced a fertile soil-like material that was a rich environment for growing their crops. Since then, synthetic materials have been used to create similar nutritional values.

The Origin of Composting

With the world’s increasing need for large quantities of food, and with synthetic fertilizers not performing positively to improve the soil’s structure there is all the more reason for all of us to take an active role to improve the soil that food we eat is grown in. There is one natural method developed by Sir Albert Howard, a British agronomist that in 1905 went to India and spent 30 years in experimentation with organic farming and gardening. He discovered that the best compost mix consisted of three times more plant waste as it was typically used v.s. manure layering the materials in a sandwich like fashion then turning it during the decomposition. This method is known as the Indore method. He is considered the father of organic farming and gardening.

For modern urban dwellers, you can actually cleanly compost at home in a contained manner. There are receptacles that are perfect for this, biodegradable bags made from corn that can house the kitchen waste. Even coffee grounds themselves can be added directly to garden beds to nourish plants. City dwellers, join in and include your homes in this vital collaborative effort between man and nature.

 VIDEOUrban Composting in New York City
 DISCOVERThe Future of Composting
 BOOKSComposting: An Easy Household Guide
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