Composting

For the best garden you have ever grown or seen.

 It supplies plants with nitrogen or nitrogen containing materials.What is Composting?  Composting is the natural way of degrading organic material into humus and minerals  It is a natural aerobic microbiological process that returns plant nutrients to the soil where they can again be absorbed by plants for new growth. additional nutrients and beneficial microorganisms .

Why should we make Compost? Compost is an excellent soil additive that increases the productivity and workability of soil. . It is also inexpensive and solves the problem of disposing of plant. kitchen wastes and other waste products.

Carbon/Nitrogen ratio(C/N)  Maximum composting efficiency occurs when Carbon is properly balanced with Nitrogen.  Urea fertilizer or other nitrogen source can be used in place of green vegetation if necessary ² 1 lb.  To achieve this. wood chips ² Collected urine from healthy people can also be used. blend equal parts by volume of grass clippings with dry leaves and shredded twigs or branches. . leaves ² 6 lb. urea to 1 cubic yd. urea to 1 cubic yd.

alfalfa meal at the rate of 2 cups to a wheelbarrow load of brown leaves or other carbon rich wastes such as shredded paper. .How can you make compost?  Add extra nitrogen to shredded leaves  Or mix 5 parts leaves to 1 part manure Or add dried blood meal.

In that case. allow compost to dry out by removing any coverings or add more dry material and mix.  If. water runs freely. . when a handfull is squeezed. then there is too much water.  If compost is dry with no residue of water you should add water.How much to water (H2O)?  Ideally you should maintain moisture level at about 50%  Compost should feel about like a wet sponge.

high and 5 ft.  If oxygen is in short supply anaerobic organisms will take over and cause a bad undesirable smell. Any length will do.  Provide adequate ventilation by turning the pile frequently or by venting.Is Oxygen (O2) neccessary?  Yes. Or make additional piles. 4x4 makes an ideal size. wide. .  Restrict size of the pile to no more than 5 ft. The bacteria and actinomycetes (fungi) that do the work must have access to oxygen.

insects. putting outside edges inside and allow it to compost more. .  Composting at the center of the pile is complete when temperatures within the pile drop below 100o F.Composting Temperatures  Optimum temperatures are between 100o and 140oF because those higher temperatures kill disease organisms. If so. and some but not all weed seeds.  Material on the outside edges of the pile may not have reached proper temperatures. turn the pile.

Will shredding the materials help?  Yes. Smaller particles decompose faster as there are more surfaces for the bacteria to work on. very small particles may compact and restrict oxygen availability.  You should shred brush and prunings to compact them and leaves to prevent layering. .  Therefore a blend of small and large particles will be most efficient.  However.  A shredder although expensive is well worth the cost to the devoted composter.

Does not detract from the landscape and is not a problem for you or your neighbors. Gets shade in the summer and sun in the winter to take advantage of natural heating and cooling. Has a source of water nearby 4.For a Successful Compost Pile Step One Select a Site that: 1. 3. Is convenient for adding materials and for removing finished compost. 2. .

cinder blocks.be accessible . wooden pallets.e. .allow air flow i. . III. pit composting. Containers if used should: . prefabricated structures. etc.resist decay . Open composting sheet composting.poles w/chicken wire.Choose your method Step Two II..

Stems.III. Select the Proper Materials Acceptable ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Grass clippings Leaves and Weeds Manures Coffee Grounds Wood Chips. Stalks Garden & Canning Waste ‡ Fruit & Vegetables Not Acceptable ‡ Meats ‡ Bones ‡ Large Branches unless chipped ‡ Synthetic Products ‡ Plastics ‡ Pet or Human Solid Wastes . Sawdust Bark.

with carbonaceous materials 3. Make the Pile Work A compost pile is not just rotting garbage. 4. Build layers of green plant waste alternating 2. Successful compost piles are structured as follows: 1. Add water to keep all materials moist but not soggy. Occasionally mix so all the contents are composted. .IV.

but won¶t heat . Trouble Shooting If the pile or bin develops A strong odor from insufficient oxygen ± Turn the pile or bin  Pile is damp.too much nitrogen ± Add sawdust of other high carbon material and turn pile . urea or grass clipping  Pile is dry and not composting .V.insufficient water ± Form pile so center is lowest to collect rainwater or ± add water.insufficient nitrogen ± Add fertilizer.  Ammonia smell .

They will continue to work on the organic matter present in your soil but they may be unwanted in flower pots.  Red worms that may inhabit the pile do not need to be removed when using the compost.Using your Compost  Your compost is ready to use when the temperatures within the pile begin to cool and remain steady even after turning. . Screening to remove particles larger than 1/2µ diameter improves handling and quality.

Apply it to your garden and flower beds to create an ideal environment for everything that grows.The final product will be dark. have an earthy smell and can be used as an excellent source of plant nutrients. .