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Springtime is Composting Time!
Submitted by Seleyn DeYarus on Tue, 03/25/2014 - 10:51
Want to celebrate the arrival of Spring with an earth friendly project? Now’s the perfect time to start a composting pile in your backyard! Some of the benefits for doing so are you’ll reduce household waste going to the landfill and you’ll be creating a rich soil conditioner and fertilizer for your plants and garden. The warmer days and nights will help the contents in the compost pile break down faster than during the winter months. Just remember, as summer rolls around and the weather is drier, you’ll need to lightly water your compost to keep it moist so it keeps percolating.
Inspire your friends to get into the gardening and composting groove with a great organic gift basket from America's Best Organics that includes heirloom and organic seeds that will thrive from the healthy compost coming from the backyard!
Here are 8 steps to start a compost pile courtesy of EarthEasy.com:
1. Start your compost pile on bare earth to allow worms and other organisms to aerate the compost. If you’re short on space or prefer to contain the pile, you can use a compost bin or compost tumbler.
2. First in: twigs or straw. Layer these a few inches deep to help drain and aerate the pile.
3. Add compost materials in layers, alternating moist materials (food scraps, tea bags, etc.) and dry materials (straw, leaves, sawdust, wood ashes). TIP: If you add wood ashes, sprinkle them in thin layers or they’ll clump and slow break down.
4. Add a nitrogen source, like manure or green manure (clover, buckwheat, wheatgrass, grass clippings), to activate and speed up the compost process.
5. Keep the compost moist by occasionally watering the pile or allowing rain to do so. It should be moist but not soaked.
6. Cover the pile so it retains moisture and heat- two key essentials for compost. You can likely look no further than your garage or basement to find a suitable cover. Try wood, plastic, a tarp, or carpet scraps.
7. Turn the pile every few weeks with a pitchfork for shovel to help aerate it. This turning process adds oxygen, another instrumental element in the composting process. TIP: You can skip this step if you already have a good supply of coarse material like straw and twigs.
8. Maintain the pile by mixing in new materials rather than adding them in layers. Mixing and turning the pile is key to aerating the materials and speeding up the process to completion.
WHAT TO ADD
Greens (high in nitrogen, moist, usually byproducts of plants or animals)
• Kitchen Greens: produce scraps, houseplant cuttings, coffee grounds, rice, pasta, egg shells, tea bags
• Yard Greens: flowers, vegetables, plant trimmings, hedge clippings, grass
Browns (high in carbon, usually dry and brownish in color):
• Household Browns: coffee filters, stale bread, paper napkins and towels, dryer lint, hair
• Yard Browns: leaves, twigs, wood chips, ashes (sprinkled), straw or hay, dried grass, weeds
It doesn’t get more local or earth friendly than doing your own composting! Don't forget to inspire you friends and family to get into the gardening and composting spirit with an organic gift basket from America's Best Organics filled with heirloom and organic seeds! We hope you'll share any of your own composting tips in our comments section below. Happy Spring!