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Composting with Kids

Composting with Kids

Gardening and kids are a natural mix. Think about it: Sun, dirt, digging, water. It’s an easy recipe for outdoor fun for both adults and kids, with gorgeous results to show for it.

Creating a compost bin is a kid-friendly gardening activity that isn’t hard to do and is full of Earth science lessons–decomposition, recycling, life cycles. Get started with these tips:

1. Location: Select a convenient but out of the way spot near your garden or yard for your bin. Being close to a water source is preferable.

2. Container: No need to buy an expensive bin. Compost can simply be made in a pile. You’d probably want to keep it contained, however. You can make a compost “cage” out of chicken wire, cement blocks, bricks or any number of other materials that you might choose. The thing to keep in mind is that your container should be about 4 feet square and 4 feet high. Also, having a side that opens or is removable makes it easy for you to turn the heap and remove finished compost.

3. Collecting ingredients: An even mix of green and brown materials are your basic ingredients, along with water and air. Green stuff includes fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, living grass clippings, weeds, and other plant parts. This can be collected and stored for short periods of time in a garbage can with a lid. Brown stuff includes dead, dried plant parts, pine needles, straw, and wood shavings. On the “Do Not Use” list: Diseased plants, meat, bones, dairy products, fats, oils, and pet droppings.

4. Begin layering: Once enough ingredients are collected, start building your heap with a 6-inch layer of brown stuff, followed by a layer of green stuff. Sprinkle in a shovelful of soil to add micro-organisms. Continue layering until the bin is full. Water and slightly mix each layer as you go along.

5. Moving it along: If you did nothing to this mixture, eventually it would become compost–though it could take a year. To help the heap break down faster, stir it every few days to reintroduce oxygen to the pile. Also be sure that the mixture stays as damp as a wrung-out sponge. You should have rich compost within six weeks.

6. Using compost: There are several ways to use your compost. Use it as mulch, protecting the soil around garden plants, helping it to retain water, keeping out weed seeds and providing rich nutrients when it rains or plants are watered. Compost can also be mixed into soil when planting new plants in garden bed. Mix it with some sand to create a wonderful potting soil.

Read more: Children, Family, Outdoor Activities, ,

By Terri Hall-Jackson, Care2 contributing writer

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Terri Hall

Terri Hall lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. In addition to writing, Terri works with public television and radio stations/networks in the area of new media, and leads workshops on authentic and empowered living.

12 comments

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3:26PM PDT on Apr 21, 2013

its important to teach children composting, they'll continue composting as adult, creating less waste :)

8:39AM PDT on Apr 21, 2013

Thank you Teri, for Sharing this!

4:44PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

I really want to start one.

4:44PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

I really want to start one.

8:31AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

what a wonderful family bonding and educational activity to share with our kids......i grew up on a farm and we all worked together, i learned alot and recall this work time as family time, like when we were out boating on the lake........it's all fun if you make it that way.

8:40PM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

I really want to start one.

4:56AM PDT on Oct 9, 2010

So wonderful! Clicking like a lot today! :-)

8:15AM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

We have both an outdoor compost and a vermicompost indoors. My kids enjoy helping (and playing with the worms - oh well!)

10:37AM PDT on Jun 19, 2009

thankyou...
Kabin
Konteyner
mega kabin

12:28AM PDT on Sep 8, 2008

thank you for this post! we recently bought a home with a yard, and I am looking forward to replacing some of the lawn with a veggie garden that my kids can help with. I have never composted before, being a long-time renter, but I'm looking forward to learning all about it!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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