"Making gardening a joy Filled Adventure"

Composting 101Composting provides a partial solution to an issue of great concern in many communities. Composting provides a way of reducing the amount of waste but also turns waste into a useful product for gardening and landscaping.

Composting is a topic that addresses a real-world issue and helps to instill a sense of environmental responsibility for students and adults. It can be carried out at a wide range of scales, indoors or out, in any geographic location. We can all experience making a difference and a positive effect on the environment.

Compost forms naturally from grass clippings left after mowing, leaves falling from the trees, plants and animals dying. Over time, these organic materials break down or decompose. The rich, dark-brown, crumbly, soil-like material that results is called COMPOST.

Tiny living things called microorganisms do much of the work of breaking down organic materials into compost. Animals that live in the soil like worms and pill bugs help the microorganisms change organic waste into compost. The organic materials are full of many nutrients that plants need to grow. So, eventually these nutrients are returned to the soil to be used by plants. This is nature I s way of recycling!

Composting 101At home or at your school, compost can be made out of leaves, grass clippings, vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, wood chips, straw, and small twigs. It can be used as a mulch or mixed into the soil.

The compost cycle can work even better than it does in nature with a little help from you. If you will do your part, your waste can become a valuable resource.

Yard waste and food scraps make up 20-30% of garbage! Many landfills are filling up and closing. Finding places to put garbage is a big problem. By composting yard and kitchen waste, you send less garbage to landfills.

In the garden, compost allows the soil to hold more water and adds nutrients to the soil. Composting provides an almost constant source of free fertilizer and soil conditioner. It will help loosen the soil and allow the roots to grow. Compost has all the nutrients that plants require, unlike chemical fertilizers. Through regular USe of compost you can greatly reduce or even get rid of the need for chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. This saves money and reduces contamination of our waterways and drinking water.

The following directions are for compost. Whether you compost kitchen waste or yard and garden waste, there ( Ire a few basic steps to follow.

Step 1: Choose a "pot" for baking compost

Step 2: Layer kitchen and yard waste in the pot. Chop or shred to compost quicker

Step 3: Add a scoop of soil which contains microorganisms that do the work of making the compost.

Step 4: Adjust the moisture. The materials should be damp, but not so wet that drops come out when you squeeze it.

Step 5: Allow the pile to bake. Stir your compost if you want to speed the bakin9 time.

Step 6: As the pile shrinks, you'll know it is baking properly. If you turn the compost every week, it should be ready in one to two months. If you don't, it should be ready in six to twelve months.

Your 'best ever' compost should look like dark crumbly soil mixed and should have a sweet, earthy smell.

Mix with soil to feed hungry plants.

Kitchen Compost

Add a mixture of some or all of these ingredients

  • Vegetable peels and seeds
  • Fruit peels and seeds
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Eggshells
  • Nutshells

Yard or Garden Compost

Add a mixture of some or all of these ingredients

  • Hay or straw
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Sawdust
  • Wood chips
  • Shredded paper
  • Garden waste

Do Not Add:

  • Meats
  • Oils
  • Dairy diseased plants
  • Weeds
  • Plants treated with pesticides or herbicides