What is compost?
Compost is a rich soil-like material produced by mixing organic waste, such as grass trimmings, food scraps, and leaves; which decompose into a nutrient rich soil. It can be used as a soil conditioner, mulch, or potting soil. Yard waste, a large contributor to solid wastes, can be composted. Vegetable and fruit wastes, egg shells, coffee grounds, hair, weeds, wood ash, horse and cow manure, stalks and stems, nutshells, and bark may be composted. Do not compost animal fats, bones, dairy products, pet manure, or plastic and synthetic materials.
How to compost:
You need raw organic matter, soil, and fertilizer.
- Mix raw organic matter, soil, and fertilizer together in a pile where it will not be offensive to anyone through sight or smell.
- Spread a 6- to 8- inch layer of organic matter over the area, placing the coarsest material on the bottom.
- Moisten the layer with water.
- Sprinkle over the layer of organic matter a complete garden fertilizer (1 cup = 25 ft 2 of top surface area).
- Spread a layer of soil 1 to 2 inches thick on top.
- Continue to alternate the organic materials, fertilizers or manure, and soil until the heap is 3 to 5 feet high. Do not pack the heap because air will not run through it.
- Water each layer as it is added to the pile.
- Mix compostable waste in a pile (ratio = 1 part green material : 2 parts brown material).
- Turn pile once every 2 to 4 weeks.
Compost will be done when it is dark, crumbly, and has an earthy smell (about 6 months). Process could take several weeks to a year to complete. Use compost as soon as possible before it loses its nitrogen content.