Teaching Your Kids to Compost
Your kids will get more from the experience if they have their own compost container. A garbage can or plastic bin that is at least 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide is large enough to make compost. Drill 20 to 30 large holes in the lid and in the bottom and sides of the container to allow air in and let excess water drain through.
A good compost recipe includes three types of ingredients:
1) Dead plant material from the garden, including dry leaves, twigs and sticks.
2) House grounds, eggshells, etc. Don’t use meat, fat, dairy products or pet waste.ld waste; vegetable scraps, shredded newspaper, tea bags, coffee
3) Adding a layer of soil from the garden adds earthworms and microorganisms that are necessary to break down the other materials.
Add water every now and then and stir the container weekly with a shovel or large stick. Compost can be heavy, so little ones may need help with this.
Composting Ideas for Children
Soda Bottle Composting for Children
Kids enjoy making compost in a two litre soda bottle, and they can use the finished product to grow their own plants.
Rinse out the bottle, screw the top on tightly, and take off the label. Make a flip top in the bottle by cutting off most of the way around about a third of the way down the bottle.
Place a layer of soil in the bottom of the bottle. Wet the soil with water from a spray bottle if it’s dry. Add a thin layer of fruit scraps, a thin layer of dirt, a tablespoon of fertilizer, chicken manure and a layer of leaves. Continue adding layers until the bottle is almost full.
Tape the top of the bottle in place and place it in a sunny location. If wetness condenses on the sides of the bottle, remove the top to let it dry out. If the contents look dry, add a squirt or two of water from a spray bottle.
Roll the bottle around every day to mix up the contents. The compost is ready to use when it is brown and crumbly. This will take a month or so.
Worm Composting for Children
Kids will also enjoy worm composting. Make a “worm farm” out of a plastic bin by drilling several holes in the top, sides and bottom. Make bedding for the worms out of newspaper torn into strips and then soaked in water. Wring it out until it is the consistency of a damp sponge, and then fluff it up to form a layer about 6 inches deep in the bottom of the bin. Mist the bedding with a spray of water if it begins to dry out.
Red wigglers make the best composting worms. Use a pound of worms for a 2-foot square bin, or half a pound for smaller containers. Feed the worms by tucking fruit and vegetable scraps into the bedding. Start with a cup of scraps twice a week. If they have leftovers, cut back on the amount of food. If the food is completely gone, you might try giving them a little more.