Tag Archives: Garden 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.

Should I Buy Compost or Make My Own?

The easy answer is both! In an ideal world, you’d naturally be able to make your own, perfect compost via food scraps alone, but that’s just not the case for the vast majority of people. Compost is essential for your yard and garden because it can help and correct every issue you might be facing. However, “compost” can mean a lot of things. The goal is to ensure that it’s prepared properly and has balanced nutrition. Homemade compost, of course, reduces your carbon footprint, but you only have so much say in terms of the materials used. By pairing it with bagged compost (or supplementing) you can ensure your compost is perfectly balanced.

The nutritional value of your compost completely depends on the materials. For example, compost made of just grass clippings and cardboard is going to have a completely different nutritional makeup than one made of veggie scraps and kindling—but they’re both composts. Many people like to create their own compost because they know exactly what’s in it, but homemade compost is rarely good enough to be a fertilizer on its own. 

Choosing and Making the Right Compost

Compost helps soil sustain more nutrients, air, and water, improving the soil over time. However, some compost can be bad for the soil. Compost is a source for nutrients, and if you overload your soil it can cause a type of toxicity. All plants need phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium—but not too much of each. When you buy bagged compost, you’ll see exactly how much of these ingredients are included. Before applying compost, it’s a good idea to test your soil’s current levels and get its pH. This will help you see what kind of compost to add and which nutrients the soil is missing. Of course, if you make compost at home, you won’t have that information without testing the soil first (which most people fail to do). 

If you feel overwhelmed already, you’re not alone. Composting for gardens isn’t as simple as choosing a bag at random and adding it to the soil. You can do more harm than good. The goal of composting is to fix any deficiencies in your soil and not poison the soil with too much of a good thing. You’re adding nutrients that your soil is lacking, and you need to know where your soil stands first. The good news is that testing the soil’s pH is easy, cost-effective and you can get kits at most gardening stores.

Composting 101

The first step is testing your soil. Once you know which nutrients your soil is lacking and which ones are in abundance, you can make an informed choice on bagged compost. If you’d like to reduce waste as well, adding in some homemade composting probably won’t hurt your yard since most people can’t create too much home composting. How much compost you’ll need is another factor. Most lawns require 8 – 16 cubic yards of compost. You’ll be adding a compost layer anywhere from ¼ – ½ inch to the yard. Most compost bags are 3 cubic feet, which means most people need 72 – 144 bags.

As you can see, a lot of compost is necessary to reinstall a yard and you’ll likely order compost by the truckload. However, for smaller projects like a tiny garden you want to nurture and will require fewer bags. We’ll help you determine how much compost you need based on your project.