Donnerstag, 21. August 2008

Autumn Leaves are Coming: Get Ready to Compost!

By Chris Baskind of Lighter Footstep

Don't think of it as autumn. Think of it as nature's little hint to get composting.
Fall is just around the corner -- and with it, an ample supply of carbon-rich leaves to stock your compost pile. Rather than sending them to the landfill, why not set them aside to improve next season's soil?
Leaves count as "brown" bulk in a compost heap. They're half the equation: you'll need a roughly equal amount of nitrogen-bearing "greens," as well. Green material includes grass clippings and most forms of vegetable waste from your kitchen. Mix the two together with a little water, air, and sunshine, and you're set to improve next season's soil -- while reducing your household's output of solid waste.

Pulling it all together
Starting a compost heap can be as simple as layering brown and green materials and adding water. In practice, an enclosure is the best way to keep pets and pests out of your fresh compost, while maximizing the pile's efficiency. It can be as simple as a 3-by-3 foot mesh. Leave one side open or allow it to be removable so you can easily aerate the pile.

Wet is wonderful
Ideally, a compost heap should be kept about as wet as a wrung-out sponge. If you're building a new pile, you'll probably want to add a little water as you lay out your layers. How much you'll need to water the pile -- and how often -- will be determined by your local climate. Loosely covering your compost heap with a tarp or drop cloth might be sufficient to hold moisture. Dry areas will require more attention.

Turn, turn, turn
A healthy compost heap should smell earthy, not rank. Ammonia-like odors are usually a sign of anaerobic bacteria. You've got to turn your stack about once a week to make sure beneficial bacteria has enough air to grow. An old-fashioned pitchfork works just fine.

Commercial compost bins
Manufactured compost bins are a convenient alternative to the traditional pile. They're generally made of plastic -- often from recycled materials -- and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some of the most popular rotate, which makes turning your pile an effortless task. Since they're closed, commercial bins are a good choice if you have problems with pets or pests plundering your compost. You'll also enjoy more control over the heap's moisture, which translates into quicker compost turnover.

Composting resources
Want to find out more? Here are some great places to find composting advice and supplies:
Compost Guide: Background information and supplies. A fairly comprehensive guide to designing and managing all sorts of compost projects.
Compost This: A Lighter Footstep favorite. Lists virtually everything you can -- and cannot -- compost.
Garden Organic: This page has a clean explanation of the differences between "cold" and "hot" compost piles.
Red Worm Composting: Got kids? This will be popular. Vermicomposting uses earthworms to break down your compost pile. Icky, fun, and efficient. It's also popular to do red worm composting indoors: a great option for apartment dwellers or in places where an outdoor pile isn't practical.

(End of Article)

My Power Mall Resources

Garden Tarp
Item 51085 at Plow & Hearth
Heavy-Duty, Contractor-Grade Materials
It's as easy as this: pile leaves, grass clippings, hedge trimming and weeds on the Garden Tarp, grab the corner handles and drag it to your compost heap. Durable, contractor-grade polypropylene with sturdy webbing handles. Size 78" x 78"

Push Lawn Sweeper
Item # 90517 at
Description: Save the planet, do away with raking, and have the nicest looking lawn on your block! This 26” lawn sweeper makes easy work of sweeping up cut grass, leaves, and assorted litter that lands on your lawn, walkway, or drives. The bag releases easily for dumping when full. Folds for storage.

Compost Digester

Item 2818 at Gardens Alive!

With just this compost bin and your own yard waste, you can produce a steady supply of rich, fertilizer humus for your garden. The bin’s design speeds the composting process, yet it is attractive enough that you won’t have to hide it from the neighbors.

Made of 27 lbs. of thick, heavy duty molded 100% recycled plastic, the Compost Digester will withstand harsh weather, curious animals and the hard knocks of garden tools. Side slots allow proper air circulation, while the rigis lid keeps compost from drying out and keeps away pets and wildlife.

Compost Alive® Activator with Quick-Start TM Compost Innoculants

Item 2585 at Gardens Alive!

Quickly and easily makes valuable compost

Only from Gardens Alive! Compost Alive!’s all-natural mix combines specially selected micronutrients naturally occurring bacteria and fungi. Together, they work to quickly convert organic wastes to quality compost. Compost Alive!’s micronutrient system provides the energy needed to jump start decomposition; Quick-start Compost Inoculants speeds the composting process while controlling odors. Strong smells aren’t just covered up; they’re actually eliminated by the bacteria and fungi in Quick Start.

Superior Digging Fork

Item No. 36325B at Jackson & Perkins
The strongest, easiest-to-use garden fork you can buy.Recommended by J&P® horticulturist, Mike Cady, for superior design and performance. Lighter weight and solidly built! This state-of-the art, stainless steel fork is more resilient and easier to lift and maneuver than forged steel versions. Soft, contoured handles are kind to wrists and hands.

Brushed Stainless Steel Compost Pail Keeps It Simple
Item #36-263 at Gardener's Supply Company

The perfect match for today's sleek, modern kitchens, this compost pail is also extremely practical. Brushed stainless steel won't take on the odors or colors of onions, garlic and other pungent food scraps. Rinses clean and is dishwasher-safe, too.

The Best Way to Pan for Gold: Compost Sifter
Item #36-000 at Gardener's Supply Company

Black gold, that is! Just put finished compost into the pan and give it a shake. Finely-textured finished compost falls through, leaving stones, sticks and uncomposted materials behind. Use the sifted compost in potting mixes or add it to your flower beds and gardens. The rest goes back into your compost pile for more cooking.

You can even buy WORMS at your Power Mall!

Red Wiggler Worms
Item #02-232 at Gardener's Supply Company
Hungry Worms Turn Kitchen Waste into Compost
Convert food scraps into nutrient-packed compost with Red Wiggler Worms. They're fast, efficient and odorless!
Worms digest chopped kitchen waste, leaving rich castings behind.
Starter population multiplies to a peak population of 8,000 in a few months
Comes with how-to guide on worm composting
Shipping season is mid-April through October

How to find the stores:
The easiest way to find these stores in your Power Mall is to go to "Jump to a store" - left hand column, bottom. Here all stores are listed in alphabetical order.

Not a member of My Power Mall?
Access the stores directly, shop without earning rebates:
Gardens Alive!
Gardener's Supply Company
Jackson & Perkins
Plow & Hearth

Become a member of My Power Mall and save and earn

1 Kommentar:

Marti hat gesagt…

great post on composting