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The good, the bad, the compost

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“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”—The Lorax

One of the greatest things about organic gardening is that the only fertilizer needed can be found in the kitchen. Even though outdoor compost bins are what people commonly think of, they are not the only way to avoid spending money on fertilizer.

Most people in South Florida don’t have the most ample space available to build outdoor compost systems, but fortunately, compost systems can be created for any kitchen and is incredibly simple to do no matter what time of the year it is.

In South Florida, the best way to stock up on organic compost for a garden is by investing in some worms to take part in a process known as vermiculture.

Luckily, creating a bin doesn't take too long and only requires two small plastic containers, bedding made of shredded paper, water, red worms and kitchen scraps.

The first step is to drill evenly spaced holes in the bottom of one container so that any extra moisture in the compost has a way to escape. This will be the container that holds the bedding, kitchen scraps and worms.

Next, the container with the holes needs to be placed inside the second container. Drill holes around the perimeter of the inside container above the level where the outside container rests so that there is a draft ventilation system to let heat escape and oxygen enter freely.

Once the bins are set up, add some damp shredded newspaper to the bottom of the inside bin, followed by organic kitchen scraps, such as fruit peels, vegetables, ground coffee and crushed egg shells.

Top the scraps off with a container, or two depending on how large your containers are, of red worms and dirt, with an additional layer of damp shredded paper.

Once everything is in the bins, place a lid on the inside container and drill about 30 holes in it so excess heat can escape during the decomposition process.

The bin is best placed in or near the kitchen. The worms love warmer areas and dark conditions, so make sure to keep them away from an air conditioning vent or an area with bright lights. The best places are under the sink or in a pantry closet.

It usually takes around two to three months for the compost to be ready for the organic garden, but once the compost is ready, the garden will be filled with organic compost that didn’t break the bank to create.

Organic gardens may take time and patience, but with an interminable focus, they are an achievement that can be enjoyed by all of your senses.

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