Composting takes place

 

What is this?

You colllect yard waste or kitchen scraps in an area where it decomposes into a lovely soil conditioner for your gardens, trees or lawn.  Compost looks like dark, rich soil and smells nice – not stinky.

How do I do this?

On my own

Some people take a slow and easy approach to composting by simply gathering yard waste in a corner of the yard to break down over time. You can also start out by simply composting your kitchen scraps. See the Lazy Composting Guide.

Others prefer to speed things up with some of these tips:

  1. Pick a good spot
    • Sunny spots allow for faster composting. Ideally, your site receives full sun at least half the day.
    • The site should be well-drained dirt or concrete. It should not have standing water even after a rain. A wood deck is not a good option.

    • Keep your neighbors’ view in mind, avoiding close proximity and/or employing the use of screening or tidy-looking compost bins.

  2. You may want to build or buy a container. There are many styles and sizes available ranging from simple wire boxes to those that spin.
  3. If you are composting kitchen scraps you may also want a designated indoor container for them - one with a cover and that is easy to carry and rinse.
  4. Try to start out with equal parts of "Green" and "Brown" materials
    • "Greens" are usually green and fresh, but not always, including:
      -fruit and vegetable scraps
      -fresh weeds (minus any seed heads)
      -coffee grounds & tea bags (from now on, think of these as green)
      -fresh grass clippins (Though these are better left on the lawn where they'll quickly break down. Too many grass clippings in a compost pile can lead to heavy compaction that can lead to undesirable anaerobic decomposition which eits an unpleasant odor)
    • "Browns" are usually brown and dried, but not always including:
      -dried fallen leaves
      -shredded newspaper
      -straw
  5. Some things should never go into the compost pile
    • Pet feces - these can contain parasites and disease organisms harmful to humans
    • Meat, bones, fats and dairy products (though egg shells are good) as they can attract nuisance animals
    • Treated lumber
    • Diseased plants and seed heads of weeds – most compost piles do not heat up hot enough to destroy disease organisms and seed viability
  6. You may want to build or buy a container. There are many styles and sizes available ranging from simple wire boxes to those that spin.
  7. If you’re composting kitchen scraps you may also want a designated indoor container for them – one with a cover and that is easy to carry and rinse.
  8. For faster composting, shred or chop materials into small pieces (more surface  area), turn the pile regularly (to aerate) and keep pile moist.
  9. Adding a second pile is a good idea so that after your first pile is mostly full, you can let it finish decomposing while adding new material to the second pile.
  10. Read more about compost and composting.

Hire Some Help

This is the great thing about composting - no help is needed - unless you recruit a family member to take kitchen scraps out to the compost bin.

If composting doesn't work for you, be aware that you can buy compost. Click here for some high quality compost suppliers.

Why is this important?

• Compost is one of the best things you can give to your yard. It makes a wonderful soil amendment by adding nutrients, improving soil structure and conserving moisture. It also makes a great mulch or potting soil enricher, and it encourages better root development.

• By composting, you reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill.

• You also keep a valuable asset on your property instead of paying a service to haul it away (and oftentimes paying a second time when you buy and bring back potting soil, compost or mulch).

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