Composting for Beginners

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Real Estate

Composting for Beginners

The basics: a compost bin or heap must be at least three cubic feet in order to work. Anything smaller will not generate the heat needed to break down the organic material. Your compost needs to be turned and mixed at minimum every three days in order to mix the microbes into every part of your heap.

Good materials for your compost heap include: Grass cuttings, garden prunings, leaves; vegetable peelings and leaves, fruit peelings and cores, table scraps, tea leaves, coffee grounds, egg shells, stale bread, paper and cardboard, sawdust and wood shavings, animal manure, woodfire ash, seaweed. Do not use: Branches, roots (unless chipped). Pine needles, cypress clippings, rose cuttings, weed seeds, bulbs and runners, garden wastes recently sprayed with pesticides, meat and dairy scraps, metals, glass, plastics.

Chop all materials as small as possible. Spread the materials in layers 3 to 5 inches thick. Start with a layer of brown (dry materials) then add a layer of green (wet, nitrogen-rich materials). Add an inch or two of manure or garden soil. Boost nutrients by adding a shovelful of wood ash, rock phosphate, lime, granite dust, blood meal, bone meal or greensand to each completed section. Moisten each layer of the pile as you go, using a gentle spray.