All About Compost 

 Originally Written: May 13, 2010

By  Hanna Trafford

Last Updated on May 13, 2010 by Hanna Trafford

I call compost: the garden gold and eco-paydirt. You can go and buy ready-made from your garden centre, or you can make your own. Making compost by recycling vegetable-based kitchen scraps and yard waste cuts down on garbage and more importantly – conditions and feed your garden soil. It’s easy to do and it will definitely make your garden better!

Here are some composting tips:

  • Turn the pile frequently and keep adding coarse, dry material – like straw and shredded leaves. This will prevent bad odours.
  • Compost that is too dry will break down slowly – you can avoid it by mixing in a few handfuls of soil and some moist kitchen scraps or coffee grounds. You will want to check weekly to make sure your compost is not too dry.
  • Here is a simple hand test for you: a handful of compost should feel like a wrung-out sponge.
  • If the pile of too mushy or soggy, add dry materials. You can add things like sawdust or even dryer lint. Keep the pile uncovered (unless it it raining heavily) and keep checking it weekly.
  • Create heat: a warm pile not only decomposes quickly, it will also kill weed seeds. the best way to add heat is to add high-nitrogen materials, such as kitchen scraps,fresh grass and grass clippings or manure (but not pet waste)
  • If you find that your compost pile is not decomposting, try this: Separate layers of fresh leaves or grass clippings by mixing in straw, hay (without seeds) of dry leaves. If large chunks are not breaking down, sift the pile through a screen or use a soil shredder. The resulting fine materials can be sued for a new compost heap.
  • For best results, compost pile should be at least one cubic metre.If yours is smaller, turn the heap more often or mix in more materials.
  • To keep pests away, do not ever add any meat to your compost – or fish, bones or fats. Cover food scraps with soil ot other carbon-rich materials and turn the pile weekly.

What is Compostable:

  • Autumn Leaves
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Egg Shells
  • Grass Clippings
  • Plants and Plant Trimmings
  • Shredded, ink free paper
  • Vegetable Scraps (chop up corn cobs and other large pieces)

What is Not Compostable:

  • Bones
  • Diseased Plant Materials
  • Grease
  • Invasive Plants or Weeds with Persistent Root System
  • Lawn Clippings that have been sprayed with chemicals
  • Meat
  • Pet Waste

Hope you have enjoyed this article and that it will help your gardenning efforts! Please share your experiences and send in your comments or suggestion – your participation is always welcomed!

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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