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A Quick Guide to Compost: Turning Trash into Treasure

As summer comes to a close, it can feel like you have run out of gardening projects. Get a jump start on next growing season with a compost pile. It’s a simple project that will continue to provide benefits year after year.

What are the Benefits of Composting?

Composting adds nutrients back into the soil, providing you with a rich, organic fertilizer. It encourages the production of beneficial fungi and bacteria. This fertilizer can be used in the garden or yard, and helps the environment by reducing your household waste. It also reduces methane emissions, lowering your carbon footprint.

When to Start

The time of year you start a compost pile has an effect on how long it takes to decompose. Late summer is the best time to begin because dew occurs frequently, providing the compost with moisture. The cooler weather also allows the compost to retain additional moisture, since there is no evaporation.

Fall is when leaves begin to drop, which can be used as a solid base for your compost pile. Placing it in a shaded area will help it retain moisture.

Maintaining a Compost Pile

Compost piles require minimal maintenance. Watering is only necessary during a drought. The most important task is turning. The majority of moisture that comes in contact with the compost will settle on the surface. Turning exchanges the moist surface compost with the dry material trapped underneath. This will also aerate the middle of the pile, keeping it from smelling. Turning is crucial to having an evenly decomposed pile and is best done twice a week.

 

What Can I Put in a Compost Pile?

Large amounts of compost material can be gathered by doing basic yard work. Grass clippings and fallen leaves make up the majority of compost piles. Fruit and vegetable skins can be used to add nutrients back into the soil. Egg cartons are also common, because they break down easily and create a rich fertilizer. The infographic below illustrates common things you can and cannot compost!

 

There you have it! We hope these tips will help you start your own compost pile. This simple activity will keep you active this fall, reduce your household waste and fertilize your garden. Comment below on your favorite compost material and suggestions for future topics!

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