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How to Start Composting

Randal Lahey

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What is compost?

When organic matter has finished decomposing the end result is compost. Although there are many types of organic matter such as manure, leaves, garden waste and kitchen scraps etc. although there are many types of composting organic matter will eventually do its job with or without you.

Composting does not have be a difficult task, most people can achieve quick results it's just a matter of managing your time properly. If you want your compost to be ready faster then let's get started.

To start we will use kitchen and garden waste. The only materials required at this time are a shovel or pitchfork. If you do not know where to build your compost pile there are compost bins or tumblers that you can use. In this case we will just use the ground but in the future a bin is more effective and keeps unwanted animals from your site.

Make sure that the compost is a safe distance from the house. All you need now are the ingredients. In the house you can start to collect kitchen scraps in a large coffee can or you may even use a large pail with a lid. You know when to take the scraps to your compost when you start to smell an odor. Make sure not to mix the compost too much, start out by mixing the compost once a week or less. This will speed up the process your compost needs to complete itself.

Try to obtain grass clippings and leaves for your compost. Leaves will provide carbon and your kitchen scraps will provide nitrogen. Try to stay away from scraps that are oily or greasy this will only attract unwanted pests. The best things for your compost are egg shells, coffee grinds, tea bags, bones and even hair. Many baseball diamonds have used hair to get their grass started. Undertake if possible a search for green manure if you can, if not regular steer manure will do.

When is the compost complete?

Once the organic matter has finished decomposing your will know by the texture and smell. When your compost has a strong odor your will know that it is not getting enough oxygen. If the end result smells woodsy or earthy then your compost is complete.

If you are concerned that you are using too much compost then stop worrying as your soil will never reject the amount that you use. The end result should be a proud yard, garden or plant you can enjoy.

For more interesting information on organic lawn fertilizers and many different fertilizers including natural, chemical and liquid please visit


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