Quick tips for COMPOSTING

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1. Pick the right place for your pile! It’s best to set up a compost heap near the garden. Keep compost piles away from food preparation areas.

2. Start your compost pile on bare earth. This allows worms and other beneficial organisms to break down the compost materials…and be transported to your garden beds when the compost is ready.

3. Lay twigs or straw first, a few centimeters deep. This aids drainage and helps air circulate through the pile.

4. Add compost materials in layers, alternating wet/green and dry/brown. Wet ingredients are food scraps (NO meat, fish or bones!), spent tea leaves, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, sawdust, and wood ashes. If you use wood ashes and sawdust, sprinkle in thin layers. Make the pile about 1 x 1 x 1 meter in size.

5. Add manure (cow, chicken, pig, goat, sheep) or green manure (clover, buckwheat, wheatgrass, grass clippings) or any nitrogen source. This activates the compost pile and speeds the process along.

6. Keep compost moist. Water occasionally, or let rain do the job.

7. Cover with wood, plastic sheeting, or whatever you have. Covering the pile helps retain moisture and heat. Covering also prevents the compost from being over-watered by rain. The compost should be moist, but not soaked and sodden.

8. Turn! Every few weeks give the pile a quick turn with a pitchfork or shovel. Oxygen is required for the process to work, and turning “adds” oxygen.

Dry/Brown Materials Wet/Green Materials DO NOT USE
  • Leaves
  • Straw
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Tree and shrub prunings
  • Eggshells
  • Corn cobs
  • Sawdust
  • Wood ashes
  • Vegetable, fruit and food scraps
  • Grass clippings
  • Fresh animal manure
  • Coffee grounds, spent tea leaves
  • Seaweed
  • Human feces
  • Meat and animal fats
  • Fish
  • Bones
  • Weeds with mature seeds
  • Plastic
  • Metals
  • Glass
Posted in: The Toolshed

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