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Last Updated on:  12/16/2015 04:00 PM



 
Joy Blooms in the Garden

Joy Blooms  -- Compost It

Everything you ever wanted to know about composting:  Let's get Started   
Basic How-To    Tip & Tricks
    FAQ     Build a Bin     What's In?     Brown & Green    
Now What?     What's went Wrong    Unusual Compost Items      Say It Ain't So     
Composting Learning Resources & Supplies


Last Edited on:  12/16/2015 08:07 AM


My Garden Photo Albums     Compost It!     Gardening in Lubbock     Butterfly Gardens     It's for the Birds
    Gardening Lessons from Daddy    Gardening Tips /Design     Veggies Anyone?    Gardening Links       Seed/Bulb Resources

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Composting -- Basic Instructions

Composting, recycling organic waste materials, is nature's way of creating a rich humus that you can use as mulch or work into garden or potting soil to improve it's structure.
Almost any organic material can be used in the compost pile.  Two types of organic material is needed:  carbon-rich materials "browns," and nitrogen-rich materials "greens." Include brown materials like dried leaves, straw, saw dust and wood chips. Include fresh or green materials such as grass clippings and kitchen scraps.  Quick list of what goes in and what stays outList of Brown & Green Materials.    Composting Learning Resources & Supplies

Basic Instructions -- to make compost:

  • The organic materials include leaves, grass clippings, straw, weeds (before they have gone to seed), and plant parts from vegetable and flower gardens.
     
  • Avoid using diseased materials or plants that have been treated with weed killers. Do no include meat scraps and bones because they attract rodents and dogs. Avoid pine straw because it decays slowly.
     
  • When possible, run the material through a shredder or run over it with a lawn mower before putting it onto the compost pile.
     
  • Find an area in your yard for your compost to live - generally one cubic yard (3' x 3' x 3') is a sufficient pile.
     
  • The location should be near a water source and out of direct sunlight.  Remove grass and/or weeds.  Don't start your pile on plastic or concrete - you want to give the earthworm a new home.
     
  • Begin with dry "brown" materials (2 parts), like wood chips, dried leaves, sawdust, or straw. Layer 6- to 8-inch layer of organic material at the bottom of the pile. Sprinkle the layer with water and add a layer of soil about 1 inch thick. Next spread 1 cup of 8-8-8 fertilizer and 1 cup of ground limestone for each 10 square feet of surface area. The fertilizer provides nutrients for the micro-organisms that help decompose the organic materials.
     
  • If you can get it, 1-2 inches of horse manure can be used in place of commercial fertilizer. .
     
  • Next add a layer of moist "green" materials (1 part), such as grass cuttings, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, dead flowers, or pruning materials from your garden. Remember to break up twigs or large pieces of waste material.
     
  • Keep adding layers, alternating "green" & "brown" materials with a layer of soil.  A layer of manure is great too, if you can get it.
     
  • The mixture should be kept wet (water with a hose once a week to keep entire mixture moist). Ideally your compost should feel like a moist wrung-out sponge.
     
  • You can turn or mix your pile as often as you like - every 7 days or so - or at least once a month. Your compost needs air; turning it will help the decaying process and, more importantly, turning prevents unpleasant odors.  A pitchfork works well for turning the pile.
     
  • Add chicken manure or bone meal (for nitrogen) if your compost isn't decaying. These are available at your garden center.  Horse manure is great if you have local source - use it.
     
  • The finished compost should be ready in less than four to six months. It is ready for use, when it smells earth and looks like rich dark fluffy soil.  When the compost is a dark brown color and crumbles easily it is ready to use in your garden!   Free compost. 
     
  • If you are not applying the compost immediately, cover and store it.

 


Joy Blooms . . . Compost It!

Everything you ever wanted to know about composting:  Let's get Started   
Basic How-To    Tip & Tricks
    FAQ     Build a Bin     What's In?     Brown & Green    
Now What?     What's went Wrong    Unusual Compost Items      Say It Ain't So     


Further Composting Information Internet Links:

Joy Blooms . . . in the garden!

Gardening in Lubbock    Month-by-Month   Out Door Projects    Butterfly Gardens     It's for the Birds    Gardening Lessons from Daddy       
        Compost It!     Gardening Tips /Design     Veggies Anyone?    Gardening Links       Seed/Bulb Resources  My Garden Photo Albums


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