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IRWD Offers Composting Basics, Part 1 – Materials

Three Reasons to Compost

Composting is an environmentally sound way to provide nutrients to garden soil which, in turn, enhances the health and growth of garden plants. Compost is the biologically active material that results from decomposition of organic matter under controlled conditions.

Three good reasons to compost:

  1. To reduce green waste and landfill use
  2. To recycle valuable green waste into a useful garden asset
  3. To restore soil health

Composting utilizes the following materials: greens, browns, air and water.

Greens include grass clippings, yard trimmings, green leaves, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags and horse, cow, chicken or rabbit manure. Greens contain nitrogen that increases the breakdown of organic material

Browns include dried leaves, woody plant material, chopped/ground branches and twigs, straw, hay, shredded newspaper or cardboard and sawdust. Browns contain carbon that increases the surface area and makes decomposition easier.

Water creates a favorable environment for the microorganisms that break down organic material. The compost pile should be as moist as a wrung-out sponge.

Air provides the environment necessary for microorganisms to live and multiply. Turning the compost inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria and speeds up creation of the finished product.

Do not use meat, fish, poultry, bones, dairy products, grease, lard, weed seeds, Bermuda grass, nut sedge, dog and cat manure, charcoal or Duraflame ashes or treated wood products.

Next time – Composting Basics, Part 2 – Methods and Harvesting. Check out our website for more gardening tips.

Contact: Shannon Reed, Public Affairs Manager, (949) 453-5500

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