6 Steps To Composting




Start the compost pile with a layer of carbon-rich material like dried leaves, bark, straw, pine needles, or wood chips. Add a layer of nitrogen-richmaterial like grass clippings, kitchen scraps, or aged manure. Continue alternating the layers to ensure that microorganisms decompose materials quickly



To speed up the composting process, materials can be chopped, shredded, or split.

Smaller pieces of waste materials allow microorganisms to digest more, multiply faster, and build up more heat.



If the compost pile is working, it will get hot. Ideal Temperatures, between 90-140 degrees F, allow the materials to “bake.” If the pile settles down from its original height, it’s a good sign that the compost is baking properly.




Compost material should feel damp to the touch, with just a drop or two of liquid coming out when the material is lightly squeezed in the hand. To adjust the moisture level, turn the pile, add dry straw or sawdust to soggy materials, or add water to a pile that is too dry.



Tiny living things do most of the work of breaking down organic materials to form compost. These tiny workers include bacteria, fungi, and small soil animals like insects and worms



Rapid decay of materials can occur only when the compost pile has “breathing room.” Regular turning of the pile fluffs up the material and increases air movement, which in turn encourages the composting process.


WHAT TO COMPOST – aquatic weeds, bread, coffee grounds, egg shells, evergreen needles, fruit/peels & rinds, garden wastes, grass clippings, leaves, paper, sawdust, straw, tea leaves, vegetables, wood ash, and wood chips


DON’T COMPOST – butter, bones, cheese, chicken, fish scrapes, lard, milk, mayonnaise, meat, oils, peanut butter, pet wastes, salad dressing, and sour cream.


COMPOST BENEFITS – increases organic matter to soil, builds sound root structure, makes clay soils airy so they drain, helps sandy soils hold moisture, reduces use of chemical fertilizers, reduces water demand of plants, helps control soil erosion, improves crop nutritional content


TOOLS NEEDED – turning fork, thermometer, water hose, and a shovel.



If it’s wet and smells, then turn pile or add straw or sawdust.

If it doesn’t heat up, then make pile larger or add water.

If it’s damp and sweet smelling, then add grass clippings.

If the center is dry, then add water and turn.

If it attracts animals, then keep meat or other animal products out of the pile.



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