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MIsprouts Learn: What is Compost?

Written by – Kaitlynn from MIgardener

My goal with this series is to make accessible material for parents who want to teach their kids about gardening from the ground up. These guides will consist of a short reading section about a gardening subject, followed by ideas for projects and experiments. These at-home projects will make the concepts more concrete for the kiddos! I hope they can be a source of fun for you and your family. 

Read aloud: In our first MIsprouts lesson, we learned that composting is recycling but with plants! Plants like old leaves, food scraps from the kitchen, and grass clippings are some of the types of things you can recycle through composting! It might sound gross to have a pile of old food sitting around, but as it rots, compost turns into amazing dirt that is perfect for growing new plants. Today we will be learning all the important steps and ingredients to make perfect compost.

Step 1: Space

The first step to mixing perfect compost is to find space to mix it! You can make compost inside or outside. Usually, compost is put into a bin or box where it will mix faster. Some people just make a big pile of compost without any container! If you want to make compost indoors, you’ll need a bin with a few air holes in it.

 

Step 2: Waste

You’ll need two different types of waste to mix the perfect compost. Sort your waste into two colors: green and brown! Green waste is made up of colorful things like kitchen scraps and grass clippings. Brown waste is made up of. . . well. . . brown stuff like old leaves, woodchips, and straw. The combination of these wastes is what creates the perfect growing mix for plants in the future!

MIgardener compost

 

Step 3: Water

Remember to add water to your compost mix! Water speeds up the molding process for food and leaf scraps. Watering your compost also helps keep the temperature not too hot and not too cold. Water the compost pile once a week, or enough to keep it moist but not soaking wet.

compost

 

Step 4: Decomposers

Adding decomposers is the last step to making the perfect compost. Decomposers are living things that eat old food to help it break down. Mushrooms, insects, worms, and microorganisms are all examples of decomposers. If you are composting outside, you only have to wait to see which decomposers come and visit your pile or bin! If you are inside, add worms to your bin and check on them every now and then to see how long it takes! Remember to mix your compost pile at least once a week to give air to the important decomposers. Without them, your compost pile would take a very long time.

composting with kids

 

 

Project: Soda Bottle Compost

compost

You’ll need:

Empty 2 Liter Soda Bottle

Soil

leaves, grass, newspaper, spoiled produce

Follow the steps given in this awesome project. Collect compostable food scraps and soil into your soda bottle and leave outside on the porch or somewhere sunny for the best results. Have your kiddos write down the progress of their mini pile as it turns into dirt before their eyes!

I hope this post was helpful! Please leave me some feedback in the comments on Facebook!

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Main sources:

SciShow Kids

MIgardener 

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