September 2, 2011

Homemade Compost 101

Every wonder what to do about scraps of food and old leaves? Why not compost them in your backyard? Whether or not you've tried it before, here are some helpful tips to helping you better understand composting. Afterall, you can't just throw stuff in your backyard and assume you'll have excellent soil next time you check. You need to understand the process--the formula. Then it's a breeze.

-First find a location for your compost with enough sun to help dry it out.

-Then decide if you're going to build something for your compost to be in or not, or if you'll buy a composter.

-There are many options, but it shouldn't be too far from your house...for accessibility and wanting to take stuff there.

-Then have something to store your food scraps in the kitchen. (I just use a bucket in the cupboard under my kitchen sink, but make sure I unload it every few days, before it stinks anything up. You can also buy a specific container at some stores that have a filter thing in it to allow air, but keep down the smell.)

-Then make sure you're getting the right "ingredients," and a balance between food/grass and dried leaves/staw...that way the nitrogen levels are balanced (frequently people only put in produce leftovers, and not enough dried leaves, so the pile never balances.) Make sure your food pieces are cut up small so they're easier to breakdown in the pile.

Acceptable              Not Acceptable
Grass clippings         Meats
Leaves, weeds         Bones
Manures                  Large branches
Coffee grounds        Dairy products
Wood chips,            Synthetic products
sawdust                   Plastics
Bark, stems, stalks   Pet wastes
Fruits and vegetables

Here is some more information.  How to compost video
The document is awesome! Must read if you're really interested. Composting 101 and troubleshooting chart

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