Basic Guide to Composting How to Go Organic in Composting How to Succeed with Your Composting Venture Making Your Uwn Compost Bin Teach Composting to Kids The Big Deal on Industrial Composting Techniques The Greens and Browns of Composting The Low-Down On Home Based Composting Processes The Pros of Worm Composting To Compost or Not to Compost Avoiding Composting Dangers Common Materials for Composting from Your Own Home Compost Smells This and Other Composting Myths Dynamic Composting Tips and Tricks Evaluating Commercially Available Composting Heaps Getting the Most Out of Your Compost Getting to Know Your Composting Equipment Helping Nature by Composting
ATTENTION ALL ECO-LOVERS: Do You Want to Help The Environment And Save Money?
Do you love working with nature… Creating a garden… Keeping your yard looking nice… But hate the cost of fertilizer? …Do you want to help the environment by reducing your ecological footprint? If so, then you’ve found the right book!
Many people don’t compost because they think it’s smelly, messy and not worth it…But did you know that 20-30% of landfills are kitchen waste!
Imagine the impact on the environment if people just started composting their kitchen scraps alone…Not to mention ALL their organic waste!
And it doesn’t have to be messy at all…In fact, with today’s technology composting is clean and efficient…and you can compost as much or as little as you want!
You don’t have to be a farmer with a giant composting bin to see the benefits. On the contrary, you can live in a house or an apartment and experience all the great advantages composting has to offer!
And once you get your composting bin started, composting doesn’t cost you anything at all. It can actually start saving money.
Compost is the end product of organic decomposition. But this decomposed organic material is LOADED with nutrients other plants need to grow…
So basically, your kitchen scraps turn into FREE fertilizer!
Furthermore, composted fertilizer doesn’t have all those potentially dangerous chemicals found in most store bought fertilizers.
That’s not all…Composting material helps keep your soil soft and conditioned!
Once you get started, you can have almost a constant supply of FREE all natural fertilizer for your flowerbeds, lawn, or potted plants!
But unfortunately many people don’t even know how to start composting – much less experiencing its benefits – because it’s an enigma, relegated as something those “earthy” people do.
But Why Should Helping The Environment And Saving Money Just Be For The “Earthy” People?
Doesn’t everyone want that?!
Not only that, but you can help keep landfills from becoming land-FILLED!
As you can see, composting isn’t just for a few dedicated environmentalists – it can benefit everyone.
Going “green” is certainly the trend right now, so why not start by composting?
This is a complete guide to composting. It contains everything there is to know about composting in simple, understandable language so that you can easily learn things like:
- Composting Basics: Getting started composting on the right foot! - What Makes Composting Work… A fascinating breakdown of how composting works, and why you want it! - Keys to Great Composting …fundamental principles on how to create the best compost! - The 3 “R’s” of Composting: You may have heard of these before… but never in a way that could save you money! - A Quick Start To Composting… get started composting without all the fuss (and mess!) of learning it for yourself. - Composting Recipes… the difference between good compost and smelly compost - How To Use Your New Compost… see your gardens greener! - Different Composting Bins… have the right bin for the right house and yield the most punch! - How To Build A Composting Bin… customize your bin to your exact situation and get the most of your compost! - Plus much, MUCH MORE!
This just scratches the surface of what’s in this book. If you’ve ever been interested in composting but didn’t know where to start, then this book will help you get started on the right foot.
It contains everything you need to know to begin helping the environment AND save money today through effortless composting.
Discover some insider tips,tricks, and techniques for creating your own compost and using it to grow the organic garden of your dreams. Topics include cold composting, hot composting, and vermicomposting.
After a couple of months taking care of your compost pile, turning over the pile every now and then, warding off insects and pests, and keeping the pile damp, it is only natural (and you should do so) to get the most out of your compost. And this means using the compost wisely and effectively. In This Guide: Getting The Most Out Of Your Compost Common Uses For Finished Compost If Your Compost Pile Won’t Heat Up Making Compost: Getting Your Hands Dirty Making Your Uwn Compost Bin Maintaining A Compost Heap Compost Smells: This And Other Composting Myths Building Your Own Compost Bin To Compost Or Not To Compost What Not To Compost The Best Food For Your Compost Bin When Will Your Compost Be Ready Wriggly Friends Help Make Compost Store-bought Fertilizer Versus Mature Compost Who Should Compost? Ongoing Care For Your Compost Pile Recycling: How To Start And Maintain A Compost Pile
This book discusses the proper way to set up a compost pile. Contents Include: Article 1: What is Composting? Article 2: Misconceptions Surrounding Composting Article 3: Compost Smells: This and Other Composting Myths Article 4: To Compost or Not to Compost Article 5: The Benefits of Composting Article 6: How to Succeed with Your Composting Venture Article 7: Creative Composting Article 8: Materials Needed to Start Composting Article 9: A Review of the Steps to Successful Composting Article 10: Composting Precautions Article 11: Getting to Know Your Composting Equipment Article 12: The Low-down on Home Based Composting Processes Article 13: The Dirt Paybacks: Advantages of Composting Article 14: The Best Place for Your Composting Bin Article 15: Building Your Own Compost Bin Article 16: How to Choose a Composting Container Article 17: Different Types of Composting Article 18: The Greens and Browns of Composting Article 19: The Best Food for Your Compost Bin Article 20: Non-edible Composting Items Article 21: Store-bought Fertilizer Versus Mature Compost Article 22: Worms for Vermicomposting Article 23: Wriggly Friends Help Make Compost Article 24: What Not To Compost Article 25: Seasonal Considerations for Composting Article 26: Maintaining a Compost Heap Article 27: Ongoing Care for Your Compost Pile Article 28: Composting Problems Article 29: If Your Compost Pile Won’t Heat Up Article 30: Common Uses for Finished Compost
In today’s world, the idea of recycling is becoming less of an option, and more of a necessity. With landfills filling to capacity and the cost of removing and transporting waste going through the roof, having your own compost pile is a great way to reduce your costs while doing your part to minimize the landfill problems.
Learn all that you will need to know to do your part with the burden of waste while keeping up with mandatory recycling requirements.
Table of Contents Includes:
Recycling: How To Start And Maintain A Compost Pile
Anything that was once living vegetation can be composted.
How do you compost it?
If you throw it all in a heap, it will compost.
How long will it take?
If you do exactly as stated above, it can take 2-4 years for your heap to turn to compost.
How do I speed up the process?
There’s a right way to compost and there’s a better way to compost.
Like anything else, composting requires action. If you don’t get your composting started, you will never have compost. Composting is a very simple process that happens in nature without any human intervention. You don’t have to be a scientist to compost.
No doubt, you want to be able to utilize your compost later this year, or sometime next year. You don’t have to wait several years for your compost to be ready for the garden.
Tips and Techniques Available for Speeding up the Composting Process
1. Use the right materials.
Try to maintain a one to one ratio (by weight) of equal portions of carbon materials and nitrogen materials. Carbon materials consist of browns, such as dry leaves, shredded paper and wood products and hay or straw. Nitrogen materials are the greens, such as kitchen food scraps, lawn clippings, and manure.
2. Your compost needs air.
Providing adequate ventilation or regular turning will prevent your compost from being overcome by foul odors.
3. Watch the temperature.
There is an optimal temperature that encourages bacterial activity required for quick decomposition. That falls between about 90 and 135 degrees F. In colder climates, you should maximize solar temperature by placing your pile in a location that is exposed to sunlight, or by storing the compost in black colored bins.
4. Maximize the surface area.
Chipping and shredding the clippings into smaller pieces provides more surface area for micro-organisms to feed. That will promote quicker decomposition.
5. Provide proper moisture content.
Compost that is too dry is slow to decompose. Compost that is too wet can become overly smelly. Regulate the compost to a level of about 50 percent which, as a general rule, is about like a damp sponge.
If you are considering getting into composting on any scale, there are many tools at your disposal for you to simplify your project. Keep in mind that there is no wrong way to compost, just the right way and a better way.
Helping Nature to Run its Course
Purchasing a good compost tumbler is the easiest method of creating the proper environment for creating compost. Just drop in a few shovels full of a good mix of greens and browns, add the proper amount of moisture, and turn the compost to mix it up regularly. I’ve seen the composting happening in as little as 2 to 3 weeks with this method.
I’m always interested in ways to accomplish my goals in the shortest amount of time and with the least possible effort. For me, that means the use of a compost tumbler.
With “everything you need to know” about composting in one small, easy to read volume emphasizes my philosophy that composting is so easy. In his book, Stu Campbell takes the scientific mumbo jumbo and simplifies it into terms that anyone can understand.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. Here’s what others have to say about Let it Rot!
From Library Journal
A readable, quietly humorous introduction to composting, this covers reasons to compost; differing approaches; how decomposition works; various methods, ingredients, and containers; how to speed decomposition; and how to use the end result. Campbell is an experienced gardener, and the book goes into great detail, but the text remains clear and interesting. The simple black-and-white illustrations vary between decorative sketches and straightforward diagrams; they could have been more frequent and more informative. The bibliography lists 14 other books on composting; a list of sources of composting supplies is also given. An interesting treatment of a basic subject for general readers, this is recommended for all gardening collections needing material on compost heaps. - Sharon Levin, Univ. of Vermont Medical Lib., Burlington
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
And here’s more…
“…the composter’s bible…Let It Rot will change the way you look at your garbage.” – Horticulture Review
“A good general book for setting up a composting system.” — Natural Health
“This is the book we most often use in our composting classes at the Garden. The content is excellent, easy, and entertaining to read.” – Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Plants & Gardens News
“The little classic that introduced thousands to composting.” – The Boston Globe
“An excellent paperback book … an easy read with plenty of clear advice.” –The Cincinnati Enquirer
“The best book on composting I’ve found.” — Howard Garrett in The Dallas Morning News
“…perhaps the most comprehensive book available on composting …from a publisher that all serious gardeners should know about.” – Marke Andrews in the Vancouver Sun
“Campbell is an experienced gardener and the book goes in to great detail but the text remains clear and interesting.” – Library Journal
“This paperback thoroughly covers the subject, touching on various composting methods, types of containers, where to locate the compost heap, procedures and what to do with the finished product.” –Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“…the composting stand-by…” – Salt Lake City Tribune
Just after my wife and I moved into our new house, my college aged daughter, who continued living with us while attending the local community college, decided she wanted a Siberian Husky.
I voiced my opposition to that idea. It’s not that I dislike pets….I love them. My main concern – and I made myself abundantly clear – was that I will not pick up poop. I do not do that. And further more, when I’m ready to mow the lawn, someone will have the lawn picked up clean so I don’t end up mowing through the stuff.
Of course, that was no problem for her. She promised that she would pay all the expenses – food, veterinary, etc. She assured us that she would take care of the dog, walk it, feed it, clean up after it……
Finally, she swore that when she moved out of the house, the dog would definitely go with her. There would be no way that she would leave without her pet.
We believed her. She got the dog.
Three years later, she lives in a small town an hour from us….with her husband…. in a small apartment that doesn’t allow pets….and we take care of her dog. In fact, we got another dog, a beagle, because we felt that the husky needed companionship during the day while we are away from the house.
I don’t mind taking care of my daughters husky, but it’s quite a guilt trip I endure when I have to force my wife to go pick up the dog poo every time I need to mow the lawn.
Worse yet, it just adds to the load of garbage that we have to take to the landfill.
I had never considered composting the poo. For all too long, I had been cautioned about composting pet manure, so we’ve been throwing it into plastic bags and hauling it to the landfill with all the rest of our trash.
Not only is that a lot of work, but it’s unnecessary.
After digging into the topic and doing a little research, I’ve discovered that composting pet poo is not such a problem. It is o.k. to compost pet poo.
Pet manure composting must be done with caution, though. It is advised that you do not use the compost anywhere near vegetable gardens. Harmful bacteria can be transferred to your veggies from the compost. It is, however, perfectly alright to use the compost in decorative flower gardens, lawns, and ornamental trees.
Here’s how you compost pet poop:
Find an old plastic garbage container. (mine is the 30 gallon variety)
Cut out the bottom and drill a few holes up and down the sides.
Dig a hole in the ground (somewhere away from your vegetable garden) big enough to fit the garbage container inside
Set the container inside the hole with enough of it sticking out of the ground a couple inches so that you can put a lid on the container
Put some rock or gravel inside the container for drainage, about 6 to 8 inches deep
Backfill around the sides of the container, put the lid on it, and you have yourself a dog poop composter.
Now you are ready to start shoveling in all the pet waste. Each time you shovel in a layer of poop, you should sprinkle in some septic starter to be sure the proper bacterial activity is happening.
Composting is one of the best and easiest ways to feed your landscape plants and recycle the lawn and garden debris we all have. There are basically two ways of composting; the “hard” way and the “easy” way. First, lets look at the easy way:
The Easy Way:
Simply find a spot that is out of the way on your property and make a pile of leaves, grass clippings, dead plant material, and vegetative food scraps. You can even toss in a few small sticks if you want to. Just keep adding to the pile. You can turn it over occasionally if you would like, but this is the easy way remember, don’t get too carried away! Think about it….what does Mother nature do with all the leaves and other dead plant materials? She composts it! Does she worry about getting the right green to brown ratio? Does she turn it over every week? No, everything just breaks down at it’s own pace. Does this sound like something you can do? Of course. The only downside to composting the easy way is the length of time your pile will actually become compost. It will take much longer because you are not tending it. By tending, I mean being conscious of the brown to green ratio, being sure it is constantly moist, and turning it regularly. In a year or two, the pile will be reduced to what is called “Black Gold”, or compost. Simply remove the dark stuff that looks like dirt, and spread it around your plants.
Don’t want to wait a few years for the compost? Well, maybe you should try…
The Hard Way:
OK, I didn’t mean to scare you with the term the hard way. The hard way just takes a little more pre-planning and work throughout the composting process. Planning where to put a compost pile if you are going to tend it requires nothing more than this: locating a spot that will be in the sun, near enough to a hose to be able to water it occasionally. Then all that is left is turning or mixing the pile approximately once a week, adding materials to the pile, and paying attention to what the pile is doing while you turn it over. That’s it, that is all the planning and the required “hard” work! Well, you could complicate it a little more by actually making an square enclosure with old shipping pallets or even by making a 4 foot circle out of chicken wire, but that is making things way too complicated isn’t it?
Once you have located a good spot, simply start your pile by adding your material this way: A layer of green material, a layer of brown (dead) material, another green layer, etc… you get the point. Some folks get wrapped up in getting just the right carbon (brown) to nitrogen (green) ratio, which is 30:1 by the way, but lets not make the “hard” way of composting too hard huh? Just try to have more brown than green. Just keep adding green and brown materials, including table scraps, to the pile. Never add meat or milk to your pile, it will not break down, and will contaminate the pile. Also, NEVER add dog waste to your compost! Dog waste contains bacteria, viruses and other nasty stuff that will not be eliminated during the composting process. If you use dog waste and spread it around your plants, you risk spreading these diseases to other animals.
Be sure to moisten the layers as you place them. Moisture is extremely important in the composting process. Don’t get them too wet, just moist. Too much moisture will cool down the materials and slow down the natural decomposition of the materials, compact the pile, and make the compost pile smell. The microbes that are breaking down the materials cannot perform well under too wet conditions. If you have a pile that is too wet and smells, turn it. This will help evaporate some moisture, and allow air to penetrate the pile. Occasionally, the pile will need to have moisture added while turning to replenish the moisture lost while composting.
Turning the pile serves a few purposes. It mixes the materials, distributes the moisture and microbes throughout the pile, and enables oxygen to be distributed throughout the pile. The microbes need this oxygen to survive, and frequent turning of the pile keeps them happy. One other thing turning does is allows the materials that are decomposing to come in contact with materials that may not be decomposing. The materials that are actively breaking down are creating heat, and our little friends the microbes need the heat to survive, multiply, and just plain be happy.
The last thing needed to compost the “hard” way is to pay attention to the heat the pile is giving off while you turn it. That heat is one of the big keys to a successful compost heap. The optimal temperature of a compost pile is 131° F. That is quite warm! A cold pile will break down, but a hot pile will break down much faster, and kill any weed seeds that may be present. I have had compost piles that broke down a full pickup truck load of grass clipping in just 3 weeks. Now those piles where HOT!
That’s it, that is the “hard” way. Not so hard huh? Just adding a few steps to the “easy” way of composting will allow you to have compost much sooner, and your plants will love you for it.
A word of caution: Many composting authorities will tell you it is ok to use horse manure in your compost, and I am sure there are thousands, if not millions of folks who have used it and got great results, but personally I suggest that you stay away from it. Horses don’t digest their food anywhere near efficiently as cows do. This means that there will be some weed seeds present in the manure. If the compost pile doesn’t get to temperature and stay at the optimum temperature, the seeds won’t be killed. These seeds CAN and WILL germinate in the compost pile, and anywhere you use the compost. Your gardens, potted plants, flower beds, anywhere!
I decided to try (one more time…) adding horse manure to my compost pile, and used very old horse manure. It was so old, it looked like muck. Stupid move! I had to remove hundreds of landscape plants from pots that were overgrown with a very aggressive grass because the seeds that were in the manure did not get killed either naturally, or in the compost pile. The roots of the grass were so large, that when I tried to remove the grass by pulling it out of the soil, the entire contents of the pot came with it! No soil left in the pot; it was so entwined in the grass root! These were fairly small clumps of grass. The larger clumps had grown throughout the entire pot, and out the bottom drainage holes and into the soil beneath. Those pots were pretty tough to just separate from the ground!
Save yourself some trouble by not using horse manure. Remember, you are making compost the easy way. It is not easy removing the aggressive grass from your gardens.
For more information on composting, try Florida’s Online Composting Center. They have a great chart showing the carbon and nitrogen ratios of some common composting materials for a quick reference when building your pile. OOPS! That may make our “hard” way of composting just unbearable.
Dwayne Haskell owns and operates Mistkits.com where complete misting kits, individual components, and advice can be found. After building his own misting system for his nursery, he realized he could design and build systems for small nurseries or home gardeners who are interested in starting their own plants from cuttings.
He has written an E-book titled Build an Arbor in Just One Weekend, and another on gardening, landscaping and plant propagation tips. He also enjoys teaching others how to grow their own landscape plants and owns and moderates the Mistkits blog, where you can find more articles, polls, and quizzes on landscape and gardening related topics.
Don't blow your money on useless materials or waste your time with back-breaking labor while trying to grow a healthy garden. You can easily create the mother of all plant nutrition right in your backyard, using less time, energy, or money than you ever imagined was possible.