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A U.S. Agriculture report ranked North Carolina a top ten vegetable producer in sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, cabbage, watermelons and sweet corn. This means that there are a lot of available crops to grow not only in use for creating a sustainable garden and food source, but in using for a compost pile as well.

In fact, both biodynamic and bio-intensive gardening practices encourage gardeners to grow crops specifically for the compost pile in order to improve the quality of the soil and aid in the overall health of your garden. Here’s how you can grow locally-available crops specifically for your compost pile that can also sustain your family as well as local wildlife.

Simple Guidelines to Composting in North Carolina

It’s a very common misconception that composting is smelly and difficult. It’s actually as simple as collecting materials that you shouldn’t be throwing down your garbage disposal in the first place (fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and filters, eggshells, etc.) and putting them in a special bin with some soil and let the decomposition of the organic materials turn your soil into a magic serum that can improve your garden and feed your growing vegetables. Seeing as North Carolina his home to some of the country’s top producers of produce such as sweet corn, tomatoes, and peppers, you’ll have a wide variety of vegetables to choose from when adding to your compost pile.

Corn cobs, for example, provide air pockets in a compost pile. These air pockets help speed up the decomposition process so your compost is ready to use quicker than it would be from an oxygen-deprived compost. Sweet potatoes are another great natural addition to compost piles as the peels provide great nutrients and help to balance out the ratio of greens and browns needed to sustain a great compost pile. A ratio of ratio of 1 part greens (sweet potatoes) to 4 parts of browns by volume is considered the ideal combination.

Composting Reduces Effects of Climate Change

Food that gets put down a garbage disposal drain or thrown into a trash bag not only requires government funds to transport away in trucks, but it also has the potential to end up in your local waterways as well as in landfills. Now, you might think that if food is going to decompose in your yard, what’s the difference if it’s decomposing in a natural landfill? When organic material from your home decomposes in a landfill, it does so underground where it lacks proper access to oxygen. This leads to a process called anaerobic decomposition that releases methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

Helping Your Local Environment By Composting

Choosing to engage in composting at home not only has the potential to enrich your garden’s soil, help your plants grow faster and better, but also reduces the amount of damage you’re doing to the environment both locally and globally. Enjoy the variety of produce available to you as a North Carolina resident and use it to beautify and diversify your garden while enriching it as well. It’s a win for you and the environment, and you can’t go wrong there.

Photo by Harshal S. Hirve on Unsplash

Jenny Holt

Author: Jenny Holt

Jennifer Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two, who loves nothing more than to play, “where has the cat hidden itself now.”

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