Composting

Composting

Introduction

Composting is the process of taking organic materials and letting them decompose into valuable nutrient-rich soil. Composting food waste is a  great way to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and recycling nutrients back into the soil.

Best Practices

  • Composting is a method of accelerating the decomposition process to capture nutrients and return them to your soil.
  • Organic materials - Composting organic material works best with a ratio of brown materials - dead leaves, chopped stalks, wood chips, husks, nut shells, hay, and grains from the kitchen;  green materials such as grasses, fresh leaves and weeds, and vegetable and fruit kitchen scraps; and some material that contains micro-organisms such as manure, finished compost, or soil.
  • Oxygen - Composting is an aerobic process requiring oxygen. As food scraps deteriorate, your compost will condense, leaving the pile anaerobic and stinky if oxygen isn't reintroduced. Providing oxygen re-opens air pockets and allows trapped heat, moisture, and gases to be redistributed throughout the pile. There are many ways to "turn" a compost pile but the easiest way is by using a compost aerator. Compost aerators make caring for composting materials a breeze and can be used by even the smallest of gardeners.
  • Bins, piles, tumblers - Compost stations can take on a number of forms depending on how neat and contained you need it. The most basic setup is a pile that you turn, a hole, or a trench. Alternatively, you can build a basic bin, or invest in a more contained tumbler that speeds up the process.
  • Be careful about what weeds go into your compost pile. Invasive grasses and vining plants will root themselves in your rich mixture and cause chaos.

Supporting Resources

Composting

Composting at School - Wisconsin School Garden Network

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Composting

Different ways to build compost piles - Planet Natural

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Composting

School Composting - Life Lab

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