Did you know that we could eliminate twenty to thirty percent of the trash that currently heads to landfills if we compost it? Composting materials allows us to reduce waste while creating organic matter that can provide much-needed nutrients for our plants, gardens, and landscapes.

If you are not familiar, composting occurs via the decomposition of organic materials (food scraps, grass, leaves, etc.). Many people partake in composting to help improve their gardens. Composting provides benefits due to the natural breakdown of organic matter by improving soil, increasing the soil’s capacity to hold water and nutrients, and aerating soil.

To contain the compost material, you can either buy a bin or just as easily build your own. Make sure to store the composting bin in a secluded, partially shaded area with good drainage near your garden. You also want to make sure you have enough room to turn the pile with a fork to allow airflow.

The materials needed to create the compost pile are common. They are a great way to utilize scraps and reduce overall waste. These materials used include:

  • Kitchen scraps – fruit and vegetable scraps and peels, coffee grounds and filters, and eggshells – essentially, it can become compost if it can be eaten or grown in a field or garden. It is recommended to avoid animal products such as grease, fat trimmings, bones, and dairy products. These items attract rodents and pests and produce an unpleasant odor during decomposition.
  • Grass clippings – Grass clippings have a high nitrogen content which is good for compost. Mix the clippings with soil and other dry plant material for a better outcome.
  • Dry leaves – Instead of putting leaves to the curb for pick up in the fall, utilize them for composting.
  • Manure – like grass clippings, chicken, cow, and horse manures have a high nitrogen content. Avoid utilizing cat and dog products as they can carry diseases.
  • Other materials – sod, hay, non-poisonous weeds, shredded newspaper, and hedge clippings – are slower to decompose but provide fiber and carbon and allow essential air pockets to form in the mixture. Avoid using large twigs, as they take longer to break down.

If you plant gardens in the springtime, consider creating a small compost for yourself! Your garden and the Earth will thank you!

To learn more about composting, click here.

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