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Department Of Environmental Conservation EVERYTHING YOU HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT HOME COMPOSTIN...
Governor Erin M.
Commissioner printed on recycled paper
What Is Compost
earthy-smelling mixture that consists mostly of decayed organic matter.
nature’s way of recycling nutrients and returning them to the soil to be used again.
you can help lighten the load of waste that would otherwise go to a landfill.
Compost is used for fertilizing and conditioning soil.
weeds and the remains of garden plants.
bones and fatty foods (such as cheese,
salad dressing and leftover cooking oil).
can be used as a mulch or for paths,
where they will eventually decompose and become compost.
How Do I Build A Compost Pile
Yard wastes can be composted without a bin if you do not mind the appearance of an uncontrolled compost mound in your yard.
Alternate wet and dry materials.
Add wastes as they become available.
if you turn your compost pile it speeds up the process.
What You Need
You also need to drill holes into the bottom.
it helps keep out the critters.
You may need to add water since it is covered.
straw or wood chips and a drill for making the holes.
You may want to keep one corner loose,
so the bin can be opened for turning and removing compost.
form into a circle or square and add your compost materials.
they can be rectangular or a circular structure,
a bin 3-to-4 feet in height and 5-to-8 feet square will do.
Store Bought Bins
How Do I Start My Compost Pile
? Begin by collecting your yard wastes and throwing them in your pile or bin.
You can then add yard and food wastes anytime but it is best to bury the food waste in your pile (it helps keep out the critters).
you will need to start a new pile and let the first pile completely compost.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Yard wastes make up approximately 15
bones and fatty foods) should be added to the center of the waste layers where heat will be the greatest.
Pile waste material loosely in the bin.
Too much compaction inhibits the flow of air through the pile.
It helps to make the top layer slant toward the center where it will catch rainfall.
Water is the key to successful composting.
A compost pile should be kept damp
! It will take six months to a year before the compost is ready for use.
? Many organisms are involved in the composting process.
ants and the most famous earthworms
Compostable materials contain carbon and nitrogen.
The microorganisms use the carbon in leaves as an energy source.
The nitrogen supplies the microbes with proteins to grow and multiply.
Composting is an aerobic process.
This means it needs oxygen to work.
if you chop or mow your compost materials,
the composting process works faster.
For optimum composting,
the compost temperature should be around 90° to 140°.
composting will shut down for the winter.
This is not a problem,
because the composting process will start up again when the weather gets warmer.
you mix your greens and browns,
in 6 to 12 months you have “Black Gold.”
practical way to recycle your organic yard and kitchen waste.
U Compost is an excellent soil conditioner for even the smallest yard and garden
U Compost grows healthy plants and healthy plants improve the air by removing carbon dioxide and making fresh oxygen.
compost is an inexpensive alternative to peat and other soil enhancements.
Uses for Compost Gardens
Use it around garden beds,
small amounts of wood ashes or crushed eggshells to the compost pile to neutralize acids which may form and cause an odor problem.
DO mix grass clippings with other wastes to loosen them up.
They have a tendency to compact.
Some seeds will not be killed during the heating process.
DON’T add diseased vegetable plants to the pile if the compost will be used on a vegetable garden.
bones or fatty food scraps to the compost mixture.
They will attract animals (dogs,
etc.) and they do not decompose readily.
Composting Summary Composting is simple and easy
! Now that you read this booklet,
you can be a composting expert
! Just remember your compost pile needs: ‚ Microorganism,
‚ A good C:N Ratio (greens and browns).
‚ A large enough pile to keep itself warm if you want compost in six months.
‚ Enough moisture (but not too wet).
Put it all together and the microorganisms and bugs will do the rest
Just spread the materials around your plants.
For more information on this,
see our “Leave It On The Lawn” pamphlet.
Not enough air Too much water
Turn the mixture.
Low pile temperature.
Pile too dry Pile too small Lack of air
Moisten materials while turning the pile.
Turn the pile.
Make the pile smaller
Lack of nitrogen
Add grass clippings,
For More Information If you want to know more about composting and ways to make good compost,
consult books or gardening magazines at your local library
listed in the telephone directory.
Or call or write to: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Solid & Hazardous Materials Bureau of Waste Reduction & Recycling 625 Broadway Albany,