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Get the Dirt on Compost!

July 17, 2011
Woman holding soil compost

Compost soil

Pick up any organic gardening book and guaranteed the first step tells you to build healthy soil by composting!  Compost is a valuable soil amendment that will improve soil structure and provide nutrition for plants.  When used as mulch, it promotes weed and erosion control and conserves water.  But composting also reduces the amount of waste going to the landfill or incinerators.  I started composting out of guilt when my oldest started solids.  My kids waste a lot of food and it pains me to dump it into the trash.  Did you know that compostable organic materials continue to be the largest components of our waste stream?

Composting is really easy – I promise!  There are books on composting but I can provide you the  411 in under 500 words!

Here  some rules to follow:

  • No dairy, meat, grease or pet waste
  • Try to avoid placing weeds that have gone to seed into your compost
  • Diseased plant material also poses risks to your compost.

I think people are afraid of composting – thinking it’s a complicated process to get it right.  If you are ready to go hard core with your compost – say you are looking for a quick turnaround, you can follow certain recipes to cook your compost.  Check out “Backyard Composting” by John W. Roulac for five recipes or Google “hot composting.”  However, you can also just make sure you always have some of both “browns” and “greens” working all the time.  Remember, compost happens with or without us.

Browns (Carbon): leaves; straw; hay; sawdust; woody chips; twigs; paper, such as towels, napkins, bags, plates, coffee filters, tissue and newspaper

Greens (Nitrogen): soil; food scraps, including coffeegrounds, tea bags, egg shells; grass clippings; weeds; fruit and vegetable  waste; manure, such as cow, horse, chicken, and rabbit

So what’s the weirdest thing I’ve compost?  I have thrown my old bank statements and returned checks in my bin – which works.  I have also tried without luck: dryer lint and the green cleaning wipes.  I have heard of folks composting what comes out of the vacuum – maybe next time!

Looking for a great humorous read on compost to get started – pick up Mike McGrath’s “Book of Compost.”  A whole book on composting –sounds like a great hot summer read, right? Don’t worry, only 115 pages and that’s with pictures!


Organic Green Tip:  Buy plants in pots made from biodegradable material.  They can be planted directly in the ground, making it easier on us and easing the risk of transplant shock to the seedlings.  I once received CowPots™ as a gift.  CowPots™ are biodegradable planting pots made from composted cow manure.

So what kind of set up do you need to make compost? Stay tuned and check back next week when I will talk about containers and my pet worms.

ENTER OUR GIVEAWAY: Between now and August 6, 2011 enter to win a $25 gift certificate from Northern Green Showroom in Hull, MA  by simply leaving a comment below letting us know about your composting experience!

***One winner will be chosen at random on or about August 7, 2011. Winner will be notified via e-mail from the Go Green Web Directory and winner will be posted on our blog and Facebook pages.  Must be 18 years old or older to enter. Employees of Go Green Web Directory or Northern Green Showroom are not eligible for contest.***

Go Green Web Directory Giveaway Disclosure: Northern Green Showroom sponsored this giveaway by providing us with one $25 gift certificate to give away to one  randomly selected winner. For more information about Go Green Web Directory, please read our  Disclosure Policy.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Cindy Hamilton permalink
    July 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    I would love to start composting, but wasn’t sure were to start. I love this post. Saw the giveaway in the newsletter. Hope I win!!!

  2. July 21, 2011 6:09 pm

    This is a really useful post…. I used to compost my fruit and veggies from juicing…seemed like so much waste and hated to just throw it away…
    I also love the info on CowPots ….sounds easy peasy and convenient….
    looks like you can order online or search for retailers in your state…

    Nice job, GoGreen 🙂

  3. brad permalink
    July 22, 2011 12:21 am

    shred those bank statements before you compost them!!!

    Also, I’ve started using worms and it is amazing how hearty they are…you can leave them for weeks and they will be fine!
    Can’t freeze in the winter though so they have to come inside!

  4. Jess Wozniak permalink
    July 22, 2011 11:23 am

    Brad – Yes you should bring them in over the winter. My worms are kept in the basement all year long. Another benefit to that is you don’t need to walk through snow to add materials (or the heat on a day like today!)

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