Composting and Gardening Tips

March 30, 2016 by Kari Karch


It’s that time of year again where we get to enjoy an exciting spring by composting and planting our own vegetables. Whether you are a novice or expert gardener, having the right tools and care are crucial for a flourishing crop season. Here are some of my essential pointers and suggestions for a budding season ahead.

Composting 101
Each year a typical household throws away about 474 pounds of food. Composting is quite easy and takes little effort and will supply you with a rich soil for planting your spring vegetables.

There are lots of fancy and expensive composters on the market but I find that keeping a small waste receptacle near my kitchen sink does the job just fine. Once I collect a couple days worth of food waste, I then place it into a 5 gallon bucket that I have on my back porch. I add a couple of scoops of rich soil I purchased then give the mixture a toss every week. I also like to keep old newspaper underneath the lid to maintain an odor-free compost bucket.

In only a couple of months you will have a rich and earthy soil that will be perfect for planting your favorite hybrid of vegetable or fruit.

Here is a list of approved food scraps that you can add to your composting bucket:

  • All your vegetable and fruit wastes, (including rinds and cores) even if they are moldy and ugly
  • Old bread, donuts, cookies, crackers, pizza crust, noodles, tortillas
  • Grains (cooked or uncooked): rice, barley, you name it
  • Coffee grounds, tea bags, filters
  • Fruit or vegetable pulp from juicing
  • Old spices
  • Outdated boxed foods from the pantry
  • Egg shells (crush well)
  • Corn cobs and husks (cobs breakdown very slowly)

Things you should never compost are meats, fish, dairy, and oils.

Finding Your Inner Green Thumb
Once you’ve begun to collect the soil from the fruits of your labor it’s time to start picking out which vegetables you want to plant for the season. Each year I’m inspired to try something new that makes for a sensational dinner addition! Here are some of the best vegetables to plant in early spring:

  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Melons
  • Spring onions
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes

Next up is to determine what sort of space you have allotted for your garden. I live in a downtown apartment so I take advantage of my back porch and just use gardening boxes. If you have the space in your backyard, start small as to not overwhelm yourself with the tasks ahead.

Starting off with a couple of veggies to plant is probably your best bet also so you can give the proper love and care when you are sowing those seeds. I love to plant cucumbers and tomatoes because they love lots of sunlight and grow in abundance.

Once you planted your spring vegetable garden, make sure to water it every couple of days with 1-2 inches of water. After only a number of weeks you will start to see the seeds sprouting. And within a couple of months you will be eating some of the freshest and organic foods you’ve ever tasted. And it does help knowing that you participated in reducing food waste so you can brag to your friends about your newly lowered carbon footprint!

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Kari Karch

Kari Karch is a 19-year veteran of the culinary industry, creator of Kiss the Cook, and the head chef and spokesperson for the Kenmore brand. She has made many notable appearances on ABC Morning News, on WGN, on the Cooking Channel and as a judge for the World Food Championships.