Making compost

Return organic waste to the soil in form of compost

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A Compost Bin

If you don't have much space available or want a tidier compost-making enterprise, a bin is a good solution. Like a compost pile, it relies on you gathering a fair amount of material all at one go.

The simplest bin is a cylindrical wire enclosure, but cylinders made from flexible plastic with many round holes for aeration are becoming increasingly popular. Fill the bin with 6-inch layers of green and brown materials, as described above;  you may also want to include vegetable and fruit scraps from the kitchen. To speed up decomposition and produce a finer-textured final product, chop all material into 1- to 2-inch pieces.

Once a week, lift off the cylinder. Lift and turn the compost-to-be to aerate it; then fork it back into the cylinder. You'll have finished compost in 3 to 4 weeks.

 A Classic Composting System


Another composting system is a bit more complex than a compost pile or bin, but it's a very practical choice in the long run, since it allows you to add new material as it becomes available. The system has three sections. The left bin holds new green and brown material, the center one contains partially decomposed material, and the right bin holds finished compost. Turn the material in each bin weekly, moving decomposed material to the right. (The last bin will be empty for a few weeks at the very start.)

Worm Composting

For gardeners with no room for a traditional compost pile or bin, worm composting is a solution. Red worms live in a covered wooden box filled with shredded newspaper. You feed them kitchen scraps, and every few weeks they repay you with a box of rich, fine compost. Worms and supplies are available at many garden supply centers.


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