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Compost

By Edited Apr 14, 2016 1 2

Compost is the result of a natural process in which plant material is broken down over time to become a natural soil amendment. This process happens constantly as plants die, leaves fall, and various creepy crawlies do their work.

Humans, as humans are prone to do, have figured out how to improve on nature and increase the speed of this process. Mixing just the right kind of plant material, adding just the right amount of water, and do a little mixing and compost can be created in a short time.

You need to mix compost greens with compost browns. Greens (nitrogen) and browns (carbon) are living and dead plant material. Now the living stuff isn't alive when you put it into the pile but it still retains all the nitrogen that it had at the moment that you killed it. The dead stuff sometimes died a natural death but not always.

My preferred method of categorizing them is- most plants and kitchen scraps are greens and most things that come from trees are browns. There are exceptions of course but this is a good general rule of thumb that works most of the time.

Compost can be created in compost bins, compost piles, and rotating composters. These can be homemade or store bought.

What Goes Into A Compost Bin?

There are more things that can go into a bin than I can list but a brief listing of greens and browns. Greens include grass clippings, weed plants, and coffee grounds. Browns include dried leaves, shredded paper, and cardboard.

The bulk of most compost piles are grass clippings and dried leaves. If you have a lawn and mature trees creating compost is easy. You can add in kitchen vegetable scraps and other lawn and garden waste as you get them

How Long Does It Take For Compost To Become Compost?

This will vary depending on the types of items put into the bin, how coarse the items are that go into the bin, and how often it is turned. You can get compost in a month or 3 months depending on just what went into it.

Even after several months there may be the occasional bit of non-composted scraps that need another trip through. Just add that to your next batch and it'll all become compost eventually.

Compost is great for the garden and plants love it. Adding it to poor soil can increase the nutrients in the soil, increase water retention, and improve drainage.

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Comments

Jul 7, 2010 10:25pm
mommymommymommy
Informative article! We hve a composter in our backyard. Heaven forbid my husband sees any of us throwing anything compostable away!
Jul 8, 2010 12:27am
maryrecord
I'm more of a bury it and forget it person myself. I just hide things under the soil and they magically vanish eventually.
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