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Composting is a fantastic way to minimize waste. It helps uses up food scraps while creating high quality soil for gardening.

Here’s how you can start composting right now.

Choose a bin and location

There’s a variety of both indoor and outdoor compost options. Some people prefer to buy fancy composters, but all you really need is some wire. I made my compost bins out of rolled fencing wire: I simply formed a circle with the wire and fastened it shut with zip ties.

Choose the right location for your compost bins. I put mine outside to minimize smell, bugs, and mess. Pick a spot that’s out of the way but easily accessible.

Fill it!

Compost is made of three types of materials:

  1. Dirt: you need existing dirt to help your compost form.
  2. Brown materials: These are dry things like leaves, hay, and shredded paper.
  3. Green materials: This includes grass trimmings and veggie leftovers.

Use these three types of materials to layer and fill your compost bin. The key to great compost is layering, so make sure you do this step!

  1. Layer 1: Fill it with six inches of brown materials, and then a layer of good soil on top of that. Hose with water.
  2. Layer 2: On top of layer one, add six inches of green material topped with more dirt. Hose again with water.
  3. Repeat this process until your compost bin is full. Remember to turn the compost every two weeks. This will help the materials break down more quickly by exposing them to air.

Compost is simple, but it can be finicky. Avoid putting these items in your compost or it will be unsafe to use:

  • Fat
  • Dairy
  • Feces
  • Meat
Use it

Composting is a waiting game. Some composts are ready to use in a matter of months, while others take a year to develop. It depends on the materials in your compost and how often you turn it.

Once it’s done, use compost for all your soil needs. It provides essential nutrients to plants and can even improve vegetable and fruit output. Compost whenever possible to prevent waste and grow better plants.

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Preserving This Year’s Fruit For Next Year’s Wine!

If you’ve ever had a fruit tree in your yard, you know the feeling of absolute overwhelm that comes with having too much fruit. There are a million ways to preserve this fruit, like canning apple butter or making jam. But if you find yourself with at least four pounds of non-citrus fruit, there’s another way to preserve your harvest: make wine!

Yes, you can turn your apples, plums, peaches, figs, cherries, blueberries, and persimmons into delicious homemade wine. I’m going to let you in on my not-so-secret recipe for winemaking. The best part? This recipe doesn’t use any headache-causing preservatives.

Homemade wine recipe

Ingredients

  • Four pounds of fruit (make sure to choose a non-citrus fruit)
  • 2 pounds of sugar
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 package of wine yeast

Directions

  • First, prepare your fruit for freezing. This recipe doesn’t use preservatives, so freezing and boiling must be used to kill any ‘bugs’ that might get into the wine. Roughly chop your fruit and freeze it in a Ziploc bag.
  • Allow the fruit to freeze for at least three days.
  • On the fourth day, combine your 1 gallon of water and 2 pounds of sugar in a large pot. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • While the water is boiling, add your frozen fruit to a sanitized pot or ten gallon bucket.
  • Pour the boiling sugar water over the fruit, taking care not to burn yourself.
  • Let the mixture sit overnight.
  • The next day, stir in your wine yeast.
  • Let the wine must sit at room temperature for two weeks. Mash this mixture every day with a sanitized potato masher.
  • After two weeks, strain the fruit solids from the liquid. Store the liquid in a sanitized glass carboy for at least two months. I like to store mine in a dark closet so it’s out of the light.
  • After the two months are up, bottle your wine. I store mine in sanitized pop-top bottles that can be reused.
  • Store the wine at room temperature for up to one year.

Remember to indulge responsibly!


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