A Guide to Composting


Composting is a great way to not only reduce your waste, but to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. “Food waste releases Methane when it decomposes in landfill (anaerobic digestion process), a powerful greenhouse gas (25x more powerful than CO2). By composting we not only reduce the amount of waste sent to already overflowing & toxic landfill sites, but prevent the methane from being released and recycle nutrients back into the soil from whence they came.” (http://www.fxu.org.uk/greenliving/wasters/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=6013&utm_campaign=RAD-Week-Green-Living-and-More)

1. Start with a container.

This doesn’t have to be one of the plastic containers – it can be made from wood or old pallets. It’s just a way of holding together the waste so that the bacteria can heat up efficiently to break down the plant matter


2. Get the ingredient mix right.

“A low-maintenance pile has a combination of brown and green plant matter, plus some moisture to keep the good bacteria humming. Shredded newspaper, wood chips and dry leaves are ideal for the brown elements; kitchen waste and grass clippings are perfect for the green add-ins. Skip meat, fish and dairy for outdoor bins because they tend to attract pests” (http://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/)

3. Remember a few simple chores.

Turn the pile with a pitchfork once every week or two to aerate the pile to blend in the mixture and ensure that the pile is slightly damp (if it is not damp the decomposition will take too long and won’t turn into compost)

Avoid Common Mistakes

• Don’t start too small. The breakdown process needs a critical mass in order to do its job. However, certain bins work well for small amounts of material, so choose a product for your specific needs.

• Keep things moist. It’s easy to walk away and forget that there’s an active process going on, so check the pile regularly, especially during hot, dry weather.

• Don’t depend on one material. A combination of different textures and nutrients created by the disintegration of many different plants will give your plants a gourmet diet that helps create disease and pest resistance. Think about it — a huge clump of grass clippings just sticks together in a huge mat that hangs around for years. Add some leaves, stir, and natural forces like water, air and heat go to work quickly!

• Don’t get overwhelmed. This isn’t rocket science, so jump in and try, even if you don’t have a clue. You’ll soon see what works and what doesn’t.




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