As the weather warms up and we head into spring and summer, backyard composting heats up too!
Backyard composting is a great way to recycle yard waste and kitchen scraps and create a nutrient-rich amendment for your garden or lawn. There are a few tips to remember when making compost. First is understanding you need “greens” and “browns,” and ensuring there is a good amount of moisture and air in your piles.
Greens and Browns
Green material are the materials higher in nitrogen and from fresh sources. These include fruit and vegetable scraps and grass clippings. Brown material are those sources that tend to be high in carbon content and lower in nitrogen. This includes dead leaves, newspaper, and straw. A productive backyard compost should have approximately equal parts green to brown material of variable sizes – a good reason to save those dead leaves from last fall!
Moisture and Air
Composting promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms. When building a backyard compost pile, you are trying to create the ideal home for microorganisms. When you balance the browns and greens, you have provided the right balance of food. The next consideration is moisture and airflow. You want your compost to be damp because the microorganisms live in that film of moisture. But you don’t want it to be waterlogged, or else air won’t get through the compost, and those beneficial microorganisms need fresh oxygen to break down the compost. Mixing the compost can help evaporate excess water and introduced oxygen. Conversely, dry compost may need water added to create ideal conditions.
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