Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Helpful Tips and Tricks to Composting

Here is a list of materials to compost:

Materials to Compost

Browns = High CarbonGreens = High Nitrogen
Ashes, wood
Bark
Cardboard, shredded
Corn stalks
Fruit waste
Leaves
Newspaper, shredded
Peanut shells
Peat moss
Pine needles
Sawdust
Stems and twigs, shredded
Straw
Vegetable stalks
Alfalfa
Algae
Clover
Coffee grounds
Food waste
Garden waste
Grass clippings
Hay
Hedge clippings
Hops, used
Manures
Seaweed
Vegetable scraps
Weeds*
*Avoid weeds that have gone to seed, as seeds may survive all but the hottest compost piles.

Here is a list of what NOT to compost:

Coal AshColored PaperDiseased PlantsInorganic Materials, Meat, Bones, Fish, Fats, Dairy, Pet Droppings, Synthetic Chemicals 

How to speed up the process of your compost pile:

Compost decomposes fastest between 120 and 160˚F, so anything that will increase the heat will “cook” your compost faster. Here are five tips for fast composting:
1.) Chop and shred larger items, which makes it easier for the bacteria to break them down. For example, one easy way is to slice and dice garden waste is to run your lawn mower over leaves and other garden waste. Take scissors to newsprint or cardboard.
2.) Turn, turn, turn. Keep turning your pile whenever you add materials to your pile. It helps add oxygen throughout the pile and it keeps materials from clumping together. 
3.) Give your compost heap a “big meal” versus small snacks. Collect all your organic waste over a couple of days and then add it in one big bunch. The more you add at one time, the more your compost will heat up.
4.) Keep your compost pile in the sun. The heat will speed up the process.
5. A compost activator contributes either high nitrogen, microorganisms, or both, and provides a quick boost to the decomposition process. Consider throwing some algae, seaweed or lake weed into the pile. Just be sure to rinse off any salt water before adding. You can also “jump start” your compost by adding alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, blood meal or compost starter.


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