What Is Composting?

What Is Composting?

Composting is the natural breakdown of organic materials.  It is nature's way of recycling plant materials back in to the soil.  The result is a rich, crumbly, soil-like material that can be used in gardens, flowerbeds, or in potted plants.
 
The Composting Recipe:
 
"One part green and three parts brown, Turns the compost into ground.  Add some water and some soil, Turning is the only toil."
 
The ideal combination for composting is one part "green" or nitrogen-rich materials and three parts "brown" or carbon-rich materials.

​Green

Grass Clippings and Weeds
Livestock Manure
Garden Prunings
Raw Vegetable and Fruit Scraps
Coffee Grounds and Filters
Tea Bags
Crushed, Rinsed Eggshells

Brown

Autumn Leaves
Wood Chips
Pine Needles and Pine Cones
Dead Plants
Hay
Sawdust
Shredded Paper (small amounts)

Do Not Compost

Meat Scraps or Bones
Cooked Foods
Dairy Products
Oils, Grease or Sauces
Peanut Butter
Bread
Pet Manure

STEP 1: Choose a bin or location for your compost pile.  A bin can be purchased at most garden supply stores or can be easily constructed with some wood and chicken wire or with four wood pallets.

STEP 2: Place the brown and green materials in layers in the bin.  Remember to use 3 times as much brown material as green material.
 
STEP 3: Add just enough water to dampen the materials.  Too much water can cause odors.  It may also cool the microorganisms that decompose the material and cause them to become inactive.
 
STEP 4: Periodically turn the materials using a shovel or a pitchfork.  Composting will not occur without enough oxygen.
 
STEP 5: Depending on the pile type, composition, temperature, moisture content, and aeration, your pile could be ready to harvest anywhere between 6 weeks to a year.