Compost is technically decomposed organic matter. What that means to you and me is a great way to recycle your kitchen and gardening waste to fertilize your yard.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Find a spot in your yard thats level and well drained.
* In cooler climates, look for a sunny area.
* In warmer climates, try to keep your compost in a shaded part of your yard
2. You can have a pile out in the open, but remember to keep it covered with soil. If you prefer a cleaner look for your yard, compost bins are available at many home and garden centers, like Home Depot. You can also build your own bin by using mesh wire and scraps of wood.
3. The smaller the better! Try to chop up whatever you add to your pile. It helps speed up the decomposing process.
4. WHAT TO ADD:
From the Yard:
* Grass clippings
* Branches, twigs, wood chipped
* Pine needles cut up
* Wood ashes
* Manure from cows, sheep, goats, pigs, ducks and other vegetarian animals
From the Kitchen:
* Vegetable and fruit waste corn cobs, melon rinds, carrot peelings, banana peels, apple cores, ect.
* Tea bags
* Coffee grinds and filters
* Egg shells crushed
From the Home:
* Cardboard shredded and moistened
* Paper, newspaper shredded
* Dryer lint
5. There are certain materials that should not be added to your compost pile. They will either break down in the pile, bring pests and rodents to your pile or harm the plants you try to fertilize in the future.
DO NOT ADD:
* Oak leaves
* Magnolia leaves
* Holly tree leaves
* Eucalyptus leaves
* Black walnut tree all parts
* Poison oak
* Poison ivy
* Any plants that have pesticides or herbicide residue
* Peanut butter
* Salad dressing
* Meat or animal fat
* Dog and cat droppings
* Cat litter
* Coal ashes
6. You should turn your compost pile periodically to help break all the different materials down. This helps speed up the decomposing process for those particles on top.
7. Finished compost should look brown, feel crumbly and smell like earth. When part of your compost has reached that point it can be used in your garden or yard.
8. The most beneficial part about making compost is actually getting to use it. Here are some tips on how to add your new compost to your gardening:
* Add compost 1 inch thick to your garden bed every year in the fall or early spring
* Add ½ inch of compost to your lawn once a year during the early spring or fall
* If you are planting a new lawn, add 2-3 inches of compost to help keep it fertilized