Practice the ABC’s of Composting
The American Association of Nurserymen (AAN) says that compost heaps cut down on landfill usage, and provide you with a rich and renewable source of nutrients for your garden. Starting a compost heap is something you can do any time of year, and with the three steps described below it’s as easy as A-B-C!
Compost heaps work by generating intense heat and biological activity, breaking down all of the materials you include into a rich organic substance. To hold your compost, purchase an inexpensive compost bin or ask at Gary’s for advice on building your own.
Fill your compost heap with three substances in alternating layers four to six inches deep; leaves, grass clippings, plants and other organic material; fertilizer or other nitrogen-rich substances; and garden soil mixed with ground limestone or wood ashes. Don’t include diseased or infested plant materials, fats or meat scraps, and don’t build a heap exceeding five feet.
Your compost heap will start to work four to five days later, after it reaches 140 to 160 degrees at its core. After five to six weeks, use a shovel to turn the outside of the material into the center of the pile, and apply water if they heap is dry. After three to four months, your compost heap will become dark and crumbly, a signal it is ready to use.