Composting is a way to create an awesome soil improver for your lawn or garden. But does it seem there are lots of confusing rules? Like don’t stick tomatoes in the pile but do put in veggies scraps. Or don’t empty your cat’s litter box but do use cow manure. Grass clippings are good just not too many.
If such do’s and don’ts are the reason you’ve shied away from adding a backyard compost why don’t we see if we can help you get past that.
Composting Defined: A natural process that encourages the decay of organic matter such as kitchen scraps, yard waste or leaves into a natural soil enhancer.
This really is an excellent little yard waste recycling system. In fact let me share three reasons to compost.
Composting this kind of organic waste gives you a cheap way to improve the quality of soil in your garden immensely. Plus it is a practical way to dispose of household waste saving landfill space. Also by composting you reduce the need for commercial fertilizers which are chemically based and do little to improve your dirt.
Just about anything plant based such as grass clippings, to kitchen scraps like potato peels and apple cores, to coffee grounds and tea bags can be composted. Those contribute the nitrogen element to the pile. If it helps think green. As a lot of these will be green in color.
Woody materials like leaves in the fall to sawdust even wood chips can also be composted. That’s the carbon component. With this you want to think brown.
Mixing the green and brown, or technically the nitrogen and carbon, is what it takes to speed up the process of breaking down the ingredients. Those who lack enough green to heat things up can always add nitrogen heavy lawn fertilizer or household ammonia even.
Having spelled out what to use you want to avoid the following:
Any dairy items, meat, bones, grease, or fatty foods like cheese ought not be added to the pile. Such stuff slows down decomposition and attracts unwanted rodents. Stuff like that an also be the source of unpleasant odors.
Dog and cat droppings should also not be composted as doing so can spread disease.
Avoid adding diseased plants or weeds that have gone to seed to the pile. The seeds may not be killed off. Which means you’ll simply be sowing them as you spread the compost next year.
Same goes for tomatoes and morning glories. Do heed the morning glory warning. Or you’ll regret all the volunteers that come up year after year – for years.
Locating the pile isn’t a big deal. Try to keep it convenient for you yet close to the garden if you can. You want the sun to hit it some to help heat up the pile. And being somewhat sheltered from the wind is good too.
In any case this should give you some ideas of what to pay attention to when setting up your pile. Which at it’s most basic simply comes down to brown and green. Get it even close to right and within 12 months Mother Nature will present you with some handsomely rich mulch to spread around.
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