Food scraps and yard clippings make up one quarter of the United States'
solid waste piling up in landfills. The book, True Green, says, "When
this organic matter ends up in landfills and decomposes without air, it produces
methane, a greenhouse gas twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide."
Composting is the way to cleanly convert kitchen and garden waste into
productive soil matter without producing toxicity and it is one of nature's best
mulches and soil amendments. You can make it without spending a cent, which
helps save you money. Which type of composter should you use? The video above shows two differing composters.
(To continue learning the steps for composting, please click the continue link below...)
When adding material to the composter, keep in mind the pile needs a proper
ratio of carbon-rich materials, or "browns," and nitrogen-rich materials, or
"greens," and moisture. Below is a list of browns and greens you might use in
your compost pile.
Examples of browns:
Newspaper, black-and-white print preferred.
Brown paper bags from the grocery store.
Shredded cardboard or cotton and paper-based tissues and towels.
Aged grass clippings.
Dead leaves. Do not use dead leaves from diseased plants.
Examples of greens:
New grass clippings.
Plant prunings. Do not add prunings from diseased plants.
Spent flowers and pulled weeds.
Tea bags with metal staple removed.
Kitchen scraps. Avoid items that will root, such as potato skins and onions,
unless ground completely. Do not add meat or bones or it will stink to high
Barnyard animal manures such as cow, horse, chicken, goat, sheep, and
rabbit. Do not use dog, cat, or human manure/feces as they may contain pathogens
or diseases that could be harmful.
Managed composting involves active participation, including turning the pile
occasionally. On average, it takes between three and four weeks to create
compost. The speed is determined by the products you add, if they are chopped
up, and how often you turn the pile. A good balance of carbon and nitrogen
encourages quicker composting.
The temperature of the managed pile is important--it indicates the activity of
the decomposition process. It should be warm or hot to the touch. If it is not,
then the microbial activity has slowed down and you need to add more green
materials. This heat can be encouraged if you place your compost pile in full
Keeping the pile moist is also important as organic waste needs water to
decompose. Gray water, in other words, old dish water or clothes washer water
from your home can be drained into a compost pile regularly. The rule of thumb
is to keep the pile as moist as a wrung-out sponge. If you actively manage the
composting, within a few weeks you will have a rich additive for your garden.
To order the awesome composters used in the video, please go to www.cleanairgardening.com.
On a special note, readers should know these products were given to me
and I reviewed them for many months to test performance. Clean Air
Gardening did not pay me in any way outside of donating the product and
the reviews I give on these products and on any product on my blog are
wholly honest and not influenced by the product company.