Composting is using the natural process of decay to change organic wastes into a valuable compost!
Why Compost?? ⇒ The average US household generates approximately 650 lbs of compostables every year.
Organic wastes that can be composted:
- - Garden trimmings
- - Kitchen scraps
- - Grass clippings
- - Leaves
- - Potting soil
- - Manure
- - Sawdust
- - Hair
- - Straw
- - Oil
- - Fat
- - Grease
- - Meat
- - Fish or dairy
- - Hard to kill weeds
- - Cat and dog waste (tends to attract pests and could spread disease)
- - Lime (increases pH, promotes ammonia odor problems)
- - Wood ash (add sparingly, will increase pH and ammonia odor problems)
Compost Piles and Bins
Compost piles and compost bins allow you to control:
- - Air
- - Water
- - Food
- - Temperature
Ideal size is about 3 cubic feet.
Piles larger then 5x5x5 feet are difficult to turn and tend to become anaerobic in the center. They do make manufactured bins. However, they can be quite costly. Bins similar to the one shown on the left cost about $100.
Where should you put your pile?
There are a few things to take into consideration when deciding where to place your compost pile. First, a shaded area will prevent the sun from drying out the pile in the summer. Sunny areas can be harmful for the bacteria and microbes that are needed to break down your pile. Second, make sure there is good drainage. Don’t place your pile in a low lying area where there is the possibility of standing water. Also, don’t place the compost pile close to a well or spring. Make sure there will be enough room to turn the pile as well as water it if it gets to dry. It is also helpful to leave room to store browns such as leaves and sawdust as these items are needed to be mixed in regularly to keep a balanced compost diet. BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR! Make composting area more attractive or keep it out of the neighbors’ view.
FEED YOUR PILE! ⇒ Compost piles need a balanced diet.
A balanced mixture of both browns and greens will mean healthy compost. Greens are carbon rich and browns are nitrogen rich.
- - Rotten odor - Turn pile, add dry porous material (browns), cover kitchen scraps
- - Ammonia odor - Too much nitrogen. Add browns and turn the pile
- - Pests: raccoons, rats, insects - presence of meat scraps or fatty food waste. Remove fatty foods, cover with sawdust or leaves and turn the pile.
Click HERE for more detailed information on composting at home