Tag Archives: Compost

Avoid Fruit Flies in Your Compost

Avoid Fruit Flies in Compost

The season of fruit flies and gnats is behind us, but if you really struggled with an infestation in the autumn you might already be looking ahead to avoiding them in 2021. Composting your own kitchen scraps can be a great way to reduce waste and costs associated with actually buying compost. But is it worth it? It might not be if a fruit fly infestation tops your list of frustrations.

There are certainly steps you can take to reduce fruit flies. For starters, reduce your waste volume. Limit the food scraps in your kitchen caddy to just one or two days. The fewer days you have, the fewer flies you’ll have. You can also freeze your scraps if you have the space. Composting in the freezer is possible, though it of course drastically slows down the actual decomposition. On the other hand, colder temperatures naturally kill fruit fly eggs.

Clean Your Compost

Layering your compost can also help. You can put a used paper towel or a brown paper bag in between your compost layers. This helps to soak up moisture while also minimizing stink. Food tends to rot slower, though, when there is no liquid. One of the best ways to minimize fruit flies is to simply ditch the kitchen composting and take your scraps immediately outside. You can wrap food up in newspapers or paper towels, or simply dump them in your compost waste bin. Compostable bags can help to keep those bins clean—and sealed.

Make sure you rinse and clean bins regularly with warm water and soap in between collections. Ultimately, a lot of people realize that dealing with infestations and waiting months for composting to happen isn’t worth it. Plus, you will probably have to do some work with your composting to make it useable for your garden. It’s unlikely that your kitchen compost will be perfect without any additions or modifications. Purchasing compost that is rendered ideal for your gardening needs ends up being easier, faster, and a lot less frustrating for many gardeners.

Tips for Fly Control

Even if you’re not composting in the kitchen, you can still struggle with fruit flies. Fortunately, there are some very quick ways to keep them under control that will probably require no purchases. Simply fill a bowl with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of liquid dish detergent. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and poke a few holes in it with a fork. This combination will draw the fruit flies into it and help decrease the number of flies in your home.

Of course, if you do want to compost your scraps, we’re here to help! We have everything you need to render at-home composting to make it a fantastic addition to your garden. We’re committed to staying green in all kinds of ways, and that includes reducing waste and reusing it. Call The Dirt Bag for tips on composting or to get help choosing ready-to-go compost for your garden.

Prepare Your Garden for Winter

Winter Preparation for your Garden

A little preparation goes a long way, especially when it comes to transitioning your garden for the winter. Everybody needs a plan for this transition. Keep in mind that the winter months are really about cleaning out any beds and removing the last of summer crops and plants that aren’t going to survive the winter months. If you take some time now to clean and prep your garden, you’ll have a much easier season come spring. If you can, cover and protect the soil once all old harvest has been removed.

Adding a layer of mulch right now, whether you buy it from a reputable source or use your autumn leaves, can provide an excellent buffer. You can follow this up with burlap right on top of the soil. It provides a much more appealing and natural look than plastic (though that works, too). If you choose to sow over your crop, you can create a beautiful green mulch that can be chopped directly into the soil for next spring’s compost.

Cover Up Your Garden

You’re not the only one who could use some extra layers this time of year. A cover crop mix is an excellent addition to your winter cover, and you can find it in bulk at The Dirt Bag. This often includes ingredients like rye, barley, favas, and vetch. In other words, it’s a tasty little treat for your garden that will keep it warm and happy as we brave the coldest months.

For those who miss the joys of gardening, there’s still plenty you can do! Did you know you can still plant garlic this time of year? Put single cloves 6 – 8 inches apart and make sure they’re “tips up.” Planting them two inches below the surface is ideal. You can also start collecting flower head seeds this time of year so you have seeds ready to go in a few months. However, be careful with this—seeds are very easy to drop and you certainly don’t want to get stuck weeding out hundreds of borage plants in the spring.

Composting Time

As you’re removing the spring and summer harvest, spend a little time reconsidering your compost strategy (or start one if you haven’t yet!). All annual plants can be composted, as can your berries, fruits, and veggies. This can be the perfect time to neaten up an existing composting pile, start binning compost to keep pests out or start your first composting journey.

You don’t want to remove perennial plants, of course. However, they would benefit from being cut back. Oregano, thyme, and sage are some of the most common perennial herbs that could use a little trimming this time of year. Cut off any areas that are brown, but don’t trim any new shoots. These plants can enjoy a slow growth during the winter months if you let them.

Ready to start your winter transition? Let us help! Contact The Dirt Bag for tips, recommendations, and the best products for winter gardening.

What Should You Compost—and What Should You Avoid?

Compost Supplier West Jordan, Utah
Composting the Kitchen Waste

If you really want to decrease your carbon footprint, a great way to do so is by creating your own compost from food and yard scraps. However, it’s virtually impossible for home-based compost to have the right makeup and quantity for all your composting needs—instead, think of home composting as a supplement to the high-quality compost you can order at The Dirt Bag. If you’re new to DIY composting, you might be surprised at what the best compost items are and what you should avoid. To get started, dedicate a bin specifically to composting. Some people like to keep their yard-based composting separate from their kitchen-based items. If you want to focus on kitchen scraps, choosing a small bin with a firmly attached lid that you can keep in the kitchen is a must to get started.

Compost is made up of raw materials that turn into organic waste as they decompose. The more items you compost, the less you’ll contribute to landfills. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that compostable items make up 20 – 30% of the country’s municipal solid waste. That’s up to 30% of waste that could have been composted to help yards and gardens flourish. However, not all home composting is created equally. You need a variety of different materials to create a rich product packed with diverse micro-nutrients and microbial life. 

What Goes in Compost?

Leaves, grass clippings, and bush trimmings are some of the best yard-based compost items. They’re easy to gather, too. Simply clip the bag onto your mower for easy gathering. If you have farm animals, organic manure is also a fantastic compost ingredient. You can also compost pet bedding from herbivore critters like hamsters or rabbits. Dry cat and dog food can be composted, as can dryer lint and the dust gathered from vacuuming or sweeping. If you have old herbs or spices, put them in your compost rather than the trash or down the drain. Finally, you can compost any non-animal food scraps like coffee grounds, tea leaves (and even tea bags without the staples), fruits, veggies, starches, and more. Old wine can be composted, too.

There are some compostable items that need a little prep work. For instance, you can compost paper (including newspapers and paper bags) but only if they’re shredded first. The same goes for cardboard, toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, and clean tissues. Old clothes, sawdust, nutshells, all types of hair, fruit pits, wine corks, and pine cones are just a few more items that can be composted if they’re broken down a bit. 

What Doesn’t Go in Compost?

Avoid long or big branches (those must be broken down and can be time-consuming). Blackberry and raspberry brambles also don’t belong in compost. However, the worst thing you can put in compost is pet droppings from animals that eat meat, especially cats and dogs. Any animal products like meat, dairy, or skins should always stay out of composting.

Ready to go green? Start your own composting bins and connect with The Dirt Bag to supplement your compost with our bagged, deliverable options.

Match Your Mulch to Your Garden Goals

The Dirt Bag The Mulch for your Garden

At The Dirt Bag, one of the most common questions we get is what type of mulch is best. There’s no single answer because it completely depends on your gardening goals. You need mulch in your garden because the right mulch helps you save water, fight weeds, and keep pests at bay. This means healthier veggies, fruits, and flowers. Some mulch is designed for specific crops, but let’s start with the basics. There are two primary types of mulch: organic and inorganic. Organic is comprised of what used to be living things like straw, wood chips, pine needles, and so on. Inorganic mulch is man-made like plastic and landscape fabric strips.

Organic and inorganic mulch both minimize weeds, but organic mulch nourishes the soil at the same time. Inorganic mulch isn’t meant to break down, so they don’t enrich the soil, but it can still be the right mulch for you. For example, black plastic is a common inorganic mulch that keeps the soil warm even at night so veggies that love the heat, like cherry tomatoes, thrive with this type of mulch.

Mulch Matching

One of the most well-known types of mulch is shredded bark or wood chips. It looks pretty, but reserve this type of mulch for bordering shrubs, making pathways, or for perennial flower beds, Vegetables, and annual flowers aren’t the best mates for bark chips because it’s tough to tend a garden when you have to dig past big chunks of bark. Grass clippings are another popular item, and you can harvest your own every time you mow. They are good for lawn fertilizer and to use in veggie gardens that require more nitrogen.

Compost can be a great way to enrich the soil, but the compost needs to be damp. Too much dry mulch isn’t good for plant roots. The best way to use compost is to spread a thin layer on top of other mulch and around your plants. This will help your compost retain moisture and stay biologically active to optimize flower, fruit, and vegetable growth. You can also use straw or hay, especially for veggie gardens. Weed-free hay and salt hay are good picks for not only looking beautiful but also helping to prevent weeds, keep in moisture, and get an extra dose of organic matter as it breaks down. Keep it away from any stems of fruit trees or vegetables, otherwise, rodents and slugs might get attracted to it.

Finally, there’s a plastic mulch. Put the plastic over smooth soil to make your own microclimate that stays three degrees warmer than it would otherwise. You can safeguard your crops, stop rotting, and keep weeds in check. There are a few different types of plastic mulching, including infrared-transmitting plastics that are costlier but offer even better results. To learn more about mulching options and to get your gardening goals achieved more quickly, contact The Dirt Bag today for a customized action plan.