Spring Garden Tips
Composting

Convert your yard debris into compost.

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Don’t fret about all those fallen leaves, faded flowers or other yard debris. You can convert all of your yard waste into gardener’s gold, compost.

Buy a compost bin or make your own from old pallets or concrete reinforcement wire. Fill it with yard debris such grass clippings free of herbicides, disease free plant debris and fall leaves.

Don’t add weeds that have gone to seed or aggressive perennial weeds like creeping Charley, bindweed, or quackgrass. They can sprout or root in the compost and end up right back in your garden. Don’t add fat, meat or dairy products that can attract rodents.

Do add some soil or compost to inoculate the pile with the microorganisms that will help break down the green debris. Add a bit of fertilizer to help speed things up.

Moisten and wait. The more work you put into your compost pile the faster you get results.

A bit more information: Speed up the composting process with just a bit more effort on your part. Create your compost pile in layers. Use brush from tree and shrub pruning at the bottom of the pile. This twiggy layer creates an air space under the pile and speeds up decomposition. Next, add your yard waste. Aim for equal parts, by weight of green and brown materials. The greens are high in nitrogen while the browns are a source of carbon. Keeping them in balance, creates an efficient compost pile that doesn’t smell.

Composting Garden videoThe greens include things like grass clippings, kitchen scraps, sea weed and manure. Straw, fall leaves, evergreen needles and newspaper are common brown materials. Add the fertilizer between six to 12 inch layers of yard waste and moisten. The pile will quickly heat up as the materials start to decompose. When the temperatures in the center of the pile start to drop, move the outer materials to the center and more decomposed materials from the center to the outside of the pile. Repeat as needed.

Don’t worry about getting it exactly right. Given enough time your yard waste will eventually turn into compost no matter how much effort you exert. If the pile smells, add some dry materials. If it is breaking down too slowly add some greens and a bit of fertilizer.

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