May 2017 Newsletter (vol.48) >> Why Compost?
Article by: Debbie Kirkpatrick
Spring is a good time to start that composting project you’ve been thinking about for a while.
- Composting is free, easy to make and good for the environment.
- Compost is a soil conditioner. It adds nutrients to your plants and helps keep the soil moist.
- Composting recycles kitchen and yard waste. Saving about 30% of household garbage from the landfill.
- Composting introduces beneficial organisms which aerates the soil, breaks down organic material for plants and wards off plant disease.
- Composting is a natural fertilizer reducing chemicals being introduced into the soil.
- Composting reduces landfill waste. One-third of landfills are made up of compostable materials.
3 Important elements to successful compost:
Choosing a container: There are two types of compost bins, stationary and rotating. Material in both need periodic turning to mix and provide oxygen for decaying.
The right ingredients: Compost piles should contain green (grass clippings and kitchen scraps) and brown (shredded newspaper, dry leaves and wood chips) plant matter, plus moisture to keep the good bacteria humming. Never use meat, fish or poultry scraps. This will attract rats, mice, dogs, cats, raccoons and opossums. Adding an activator or accelerator will jumpstart the material breakdown.
Compost care: Regularly add fresh materials. This give the happy bacteria fresh food for the decay process and insulation to keep the pile warm. Every 1 to 2 weeks, turn the pile with a pitchfork to make sure the materials are blended. Moisture is also important in the decomposition process. Grab a handful of material to make sure it’s slightly damp. (Too much moisture will give you a slimy mess and too little moisture will slow down decomposition). A little basic care to the compost pile will give you dark, crumbly soil that smells like fresh earth.