Composting

Ask any good gardener - compost is "garden gold". It improves your soil and the plants growing in it. By using compost, you return organic matter to the soil in a usable form; it breaks up heavy-clay soils as well as adding nutrients. Composting reduces the volume of degradable materials by 70 to 80%. It's the most practical and convenient way to handle your yard wastes. It's easier and cheaper than bagging wastes and hauling them to the street. Some of the best materials are grass clippings, leaves and vegetable peelings - the very items you'd normally have hauled away. What's left is a rich, crumbly mixture that is excellent for "amending" soils, mulching plants, trees and shrubs, and providing garden nutrients (reducing the need for costly peat moss, mushroom compost, etc.).

Composting

Compost Recipe

Layer equal amounts of "brown" waste (shredded leaves, straw, uncolored paper products (shredded newspaper is OK), "green" waste (grass clippings, leaves, and fruit and vegetable scraps, topsoil (to provide organisms needed for decomposition).

Include:

  • Flowers
  • Old plants
  • Egg shells
  • Old potting soil
  • Twigs
  • Annual weeds
  • Coffee grounds/filters
  • Tea bags

Do not include:

  • Diseased plants
  • Weeds with seeds
  • Dog and cat feces
  • Meat or fish parts
  • Dairy items
  • Oily foods.

Add water and air (keep the pile moist like a damp sponge, not wet; compost bins should have slats for air circulation).

Mix occasionally by turning the pile with a pitchfork, shovel or aerating tool to speed the decomposition process.

This creates a dark and crumbly humus, with no resemblance to the original components. The entire process takes 3 to 18 months. (If the compost begins to have an unpleasant odor, it's because it's too wet or hasn't been mixed often enough - to allow air to mix with it.).