Do you know what materials can be composted and what cannot? Are you looking for ways to speed up the composting process? Composting is a completely natural process that will help provide nutrients to your garden, and it’s easy!

Image result for compost pile

Up to 25% of household trash can be composted and kept out of landfills. Using compost also reduces the need for fertilizer and pesticides which in turn keeps these chemicals out of storm water runoff.

Composting is the breaking down process of organic material by decomposing organisms such as fungi, bacteria, and worms. These organisms need four elements to get the job done:

  • Nitrogen- typically comes from the “green materials” in your compost such as grass clippings and kitchen scraps. Livestock manure is also rich in nitrogen.
  • Carbon- comes from “brown materials” such as dried leaves and twigs.
  • Water- Occasionally, you may need to water your compost pile. However, your pile should only be damp, never soggy.
  • Air- Turning your pile over regularly allows air to move inside which means for faster results. Whether or not you turn your pile is up too you and separates your compost pile into two categories…

Cold composting is very simple and doesn’t require you to turn your pile. If you don’t have time to tend to your pile, simply piling up the materials or keeping them in a bin to decay on their own may work best for you. However, cold composting will take a longer period of time, about several months to a year. 

Hot composting requires more labor and produces quicker results. Your hot compost pile should be three parts green and one part brown. Smaller pieces also decay faster than larger pieces so chopping up your kitchen scraps before throwing them in could help to speed up the process. Adding some soil in the beginning will help kick start your pile into decomposing, Turning or mixing the pile every two days should produce compost in less than four weeks. Hot piles also reach temperature of 110 to 160 degrees. These high temperatures will kill most weed seeds and plant diseases.

What Should Be Composted & What Shouldn’t?

composting-chart

 

To learn more about composting or teach it in your classroom, visit our Pinterest board “Decomposition in Action” hereWith all the advantages and benefits of composting like saving money on fertilizer, providing nutrients to garden soils, and helping the environment… Why not compost? All organic matter will eventually decompose so why not use it to your advantage? Start composting! 

About Sarah Schott

I have enjoyed hunting, fishing, and the outdoors my entire life. My enjoyment of writing, reading, and teaching others leads me to want to share my passions of the environment. I have also found conservation to be very important and I am well aware of how important conservation choices are! Through my work with the District, I like to deliver information that is helpful, inspiring, and challenging for our readers to make even better conservation choices of all our natural resources!

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