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Composting Basics

Composting BasicsComposting

Using compost in your garden or plant beds can improve the  soil structure, texture, and aeration. It also increases the soil’s water-holding capacity.   Adding compost improves soil nutrients and stimulates healthy root development in plants.

What Are The Basics of Composting?

Composting is a natural process. Organic materials such as leaves, grass, and vegetable scraps are broken down by microorganisms, forming a rich soil-like substance called compost or humus.

A compost pile is really a microbial farm. Bacteria, the most effective composter, starts the process of decaying the food matter. Fungi and protozoans join in  and later centipedes, millipedes, beetles and earthworms do their part. The result is a nutrient rich soil.

The more surface area the micro-organisms have to work on, the faster the materials are decomposed.  Chopping your garden waster into small pieces will speed their composting.   also a larger compost pile will insulate itself and hold the heat for microbial activity. Is center will be warmer than its edges.

Small piles, smaller than 27 cubic feet will have trouble holding its heat, while piles larger than 125 cubic feet will not allow air to reach the microbes at the center.

The hotter your compost pile is the faster it will decompose.

A good mix consists of three parts “browns” (materials such as dead leaves that are high in carbon) and one part “greens” (such as fresh grass clippings and garden pruning that are high in nitrogen).  If your looking for a true organic compost you may not want to use grass clippings or even leaves that fall on a chemically fertilized lawn.

To prevent unpleasant odors that can occur when materials decompose without oxygen, turn your compost pile with a pitch fork regularly to ensure that air is reaching the center of the pile.

Benefits of Composting:

Items Safe to Compost:

Items NOT to Compost:

Leave Out/Reason Why



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