Friday, December 2, 2011

Composting - the ultimate in recycling

Making your own compost is the ultimate in recycling—it takes household scraps and yard waste and makes it into a perfect, earth-friendly fertilizer, for free! Composting is the process of converting organic material into rich, organic humus—the gardener’s “black gold.” The material is broken
down by microorganisms such as bacteria and larger organisms such as earthworms.  Not a vegetable gardener?  Compost is great fertilizer for your flowers and you are keeping these items out of the landfill. When we started composting, we were amazed at much less trash we had!

What materials can be composted?
There are two categories of compostable materials:
Greens contain a lot of nitrogen. Think “fresh.” Browns are high in carbon. Think “dried.”
For optimal results, layer your compost using a ratio of 1 part "green" to 3 parts "brown". Turn your pile every week or so and water if it hasn't rained in a while (you want to have moisture like a wrung out sponge).

Green materials that can be added to compost:
• raw fruit and vegetable peels, rinds, or scraps
• fruits and vegetables that are past their prime
• coffee grounds
• tea grounds or tea bags
• egg shells - crush them, since they decompose slowly
• stalks, stems, and leaves from spent garden plants
• lawn clippings - best left on the lawn as mulch,
but they can be added to compost if they’re from
lawns grown without chemicals
• hair
•dryer lint
• animal manure - from organically-raised rabbits,
  chickens, pigs, sheep, horses, and cattle

Brown materials that can be added to compost:
• fall leaves
• nut shells
• crumpled paper (not chemically treated)
• old wool or cotton (not chemically treated)
• paper bags, cardboard, and egg cartons - torn up
   into small pieces
• straw

What materials shouldn’t be composted?
• cooked food - (it may attract animals or vermin)
• dairy products
• fish
• meat or bones
• invasive plants - you could end up spreading them all over the garden
• woody plant material
• cat or dog feces
• used cat litter
• coal ash or charcoal

The Williams' Compost Bin- next year we'll add 2 more bins next to this one!

You can make your own compost bin (for free) using old pallets like we did! Just nail 4 pallets together, or use bungee ties on one side so you can open it for easier access. There are also a lot of different bins for sale on the internet that are good for backyard use to larger scale. When done right, it shouldn't smell bad at all.

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