Surprising Things to Compost

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You may have heard the term “black gold,” which refers to a nutrient-rich soil mixture resulting from composting.  If you’re looking for the perfect organic medium to grow flowers, vegetables, trees, shrubs and grass in, composting provides the ideal solution.  Plus, you’ll reduce the amount of trash you’re sending to the landfill, and it’s free and easy to do!

  1. Choose a level area in your yard, ideally away from roof drainage and out of direct sunlight, and dig up the grass in a 3 foot square section. You can enclose the spot on 3 sides with chicken wire or remnant lumber (leave spaces for air circulation) or just place the composting materials directly on the ground there.  Compost bins are also available at your local garden supply store or online.
  2. Add a mixture of ‘browns’ (carbon-based material) and ‘greens’ (nitrogen-based material) in roughly equal amounts so that microbes & earthworms in the pile can work their magic. A good balance of these materials will also minimize odors coming from the compost pile.  ‘Browns’ include leaves, twigs (not Black Walnut), fireplace ashes, newsprint, coffee filters and cardboard (even paper towel and toilet paper rolls).
    ‘Greens’ include fruit & vegetable scraps, pesticide-free grass clippings, coffee grounds, tea bags and eggshells.
    Surprising elements to add include:  hair & fur, cotton or wool rags, sawdust, nut shells, as well as dryer and vacuum cleaner lint.
  3. Aerate the pile with a pitchfork or shovel about once a week. This also helps to avoid odors.
  4. Make sure the pile is damp, but not soaking wet (if it is drenched, turn the pile a few times).
  5. After a few months of the pile breaking down and heating up, it will look like rich, dark soil and be ready for the garden and flower beds!

To learn more about composting, including what not to include in your pile, check out the EPA’s tips here.

photo courtesy of kirybabe

Tag(s): Food, Money Saving, The Great Green Outdoors


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