Summer Composting 101

Summer Composting 101

Summer is the perfect time to compost. The warmer temperatures speed up the composting process and people are more likely to pack their piles when they are outdoors more often. Composting has many benefits, including saving money on fertilizers and soil, generating higher yields of garden crops, and suppressing plant disease (by using the compost). Compost also captures and destroys volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, in the air.

There are plenty of composters out there that you can purchase; even Costco carries one. Many people choose to make theirs according to a plan and others use wooden pallets for their compost piles, use recyclable bins, or make composters from chicken wire. Any composter will work and in 6 months to a year (depending on temperatures), you can enjoy the benefits of the new soil.

Be sure to shoot for a 50/50 combination of green waste and brown waste. The Green waste provides carbon for the composting process. Green materials include: grass, green leaves, food scraps, and coffee grounds (even though they are brown in color). Brown materials supply nitrogen to the composting process. Brown waste materials include: hay, wood chips (non-chemically treated), shredded newspaper, and dead leaves.

Compost piles should be slightly damp at all times. If your compost pile seems smelly, adding cardboard may help, as well as turning the compost to aerate. Compost is great for the lawn or garden, but wait until your compost is completely finished before using it for indoor plants to avoid burning any tender stems or roots.

DO Compost
Dryer Lint
Cotton Rags
Coffee Grounds
Cardboard
Tea bags
Hair (from a brush)
Nut Shells
Egg Shells (unless worm composting)
Clean Paper
Newspaper
Toilet Paper Rolls
Fruit/Vegetable Scraps

DO NOT Compost
Fats
Diseased Plants
Animal Products (meat, bones, fatty waste)
Coal
Charcoal Ashes
Citrus or Onions (if worm composting)
Chemically Treated Wood or Sawdust
Human or Pet Waste
Weeds (unless they are dead and dry)

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