Monday, May 4, 2009
The ABC’s of Composting!
Most people don’t know how easy it is to compost, and some don’t even know what a compost is so I thought I would shed some light on how easy it is!
From the Wikipedia
Compost (pronounced /ˈkɒmpɒst/ or US /ˈkɒmpoʊst/), sometimes known as brown manure, is the end result of controlled aerobic decomposition of organic matter known as composting. It is used in landscaping, horticulture and agriculture as a soil conditioner and fertilizer to add vital humus or humic acids. It is also useful for erosion control, land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and as landfill cover (see compost uses).
Basically great for Gardening and helps REDUCE your waist!!
What can I compost?
Most yard waste like grass clippings, fallen leaves, twigs, vines and plant stalks can be composted. Fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells and nutshells can also be composted.
What should I not compost?
Do NOT compost anything that can cause odors, promote disease, attract pests or lead to any other problems. You should NEVER compost meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, or human or pet feces. You should also avoid composting weeds with developed seed heads and any plants that are highly susceptible to disease.
How do I start composting?
Start by selecting a location outdoors, at least six feet by six feet, which will not be a bother to you or your neighbors. Enclosing your space with a "compost bin" will help you save space and prevent litter by preventing the wind from disturbing your pile too much. You can buy a bin, or you can easily build one yourself.
We built our own!! We used scrap wood from this old bridge thing that was left here when we bought the house.
We lined the box with a couple trash bags, and will be filling it with fertilizer and grass clippings. You generally need about 3 to 4 cubic feet of material to get the decomposition working actively. An easy rule of thumb suggests mixing an equal part of brown (dry leaves, straw, sawdust, etc) and green (grass clippings, kitchen scraps).
Once you have a nice-sized pile, mix in a few shovels full of soil to introduce some extra microbes to the mix. Your pile should be about as moist as a squeezed-out sponge, so if it's getting dry add some water. After a few days, the decomposition process should heat up the center of the pile. If, by touch, your pile is not noticeably warmer towards the center than it is on the outside, you may need to add more green materials.
How do I maintain my compost pile?
You should turn your pile with a pitchfork or shovel to introduce oxygen that is needed by the microbes at work. The more often you turn it, the faster it will work.
If you notice a bad odor coming from your pile, turn it right away; it may indicate a lack of oxygen. If the odor persists, you may need to add more brown materials. An overly wet pile can also create bad odors.
Small amounts of fresh materials, such as kitchen scraps, can be added to your pile over time, but they should be buried towards the center to avoid pests and to speed up the decomposition. If you have large amounts of waste, such as grass clippings and leaves, it is best to start a new pile.
What do I do with my finished compost?
Compost can be used as mulch around shrubs and trees to help keep down weeds and retain moisture. It can also be added to garden beds to help increase soil porosity and aeration. Fine compost can even be used for potting plants, and if you have a lot of compost, can be spread over your lawn.
Do you have some tips for composting? Please Share!
Some links for all you who are trying to live a more simplified life!