Compost: Black Gold in Your Own Backyard

Looking for a way to keep your garden looking green and your community eco-friendly? Composting is a great and easy way to start. Some of the benefits of composting include a lesser need for chemical fertilizers, enriching soil and reducing methane emissions for landfills. Also, it takes very little effort on your part yet has a huge impact on the environment around you!

  • Start by dedicating a space on your lawn for a bottomless bin to collect the beginnings of your compost. Size is important...The pile should be around 3 x 3 x 3 feet so the materials can decompose quickly!
  • Follow the rule of "the smaller, the better" when it comes to materials you are adding to your compost bin. When in doubt, chop it up!
  • The two basic ingredients for successfully creating compost are materials that contain carbon and those that contain nitrogen. How can you know which materials contain what? Nitrogen-rich materials are usually wet; Think of grass and food scraps. Materials that are rich in Carbon are typically brown and very dry; Think of hay and leaves.
  • Make sure your pile stays damp, but not soaked.You may need to add water as needed or cover up your pile if you live in a very wet climate.
  • Turn your compost frequently. This speeds up the composting process!
  • When your compost pile is dark brown and has a rich, earthy smell it is ready to use. Spread over any part of your garden or lawn that may need a little extra TLC!

You may be wondering what can and cannot be composted. Here are some examples of the do's and don'ts of composting.

Do

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Eggshells and nutshells
  • Dryer and vacuum lint
  • Coffee grounds, filters and tea bags
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves and houseplants
  • Hay and straw
  • Hair and fur

Don't

  • Coal and charcoal ash
  • Dairy products and whole eggs
  • Fats, grease, lard and oils
  • Meat and bones
  • Pet waste
  • Yard trimmings with chemical pesticides
  • Colored paper

A common misconception about composting is that you need a large backyard, however, that is not the case. It's just as easy to compost in an apartment with a sturdy, well secured bin or indoor composting starter kit. Another rising trend in cities are compost pick-up services. If you live in the Saratoga area and are interested in having your compost distributed to local businesses, check out Evolv Composting.

Source information: http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/5-easy-steps-fast-compost

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