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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
This compost is almost ready - at GoodEarth in Peoria
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Composting: Like Making Lasagna


Do you compost? Composting is the ancient art of mixing by-products from your yard with water, air, and time. What better way to dispose of leaves in the fall, grass clippings throughout the summer, and kitchen vegetable scraps than to turn them into compost?

Composting is fun and simple. Simply take by-products from your yard, and layer them thinly and uniformly; the same way lasagna is made with thin layers of macaroni, cheese and sauce. Never overdo any one single layer and never skip a layer in the construction process.

Locate the compost pile in an inconspicuous but accessible area. The average homeowner compost pile size is 3 feet by 3 feet. A compost pile can be as simple as piling up materials in a corner of your yard or you can build a bin.

Starting on bare soil, organic matter will be the first layer. A ratio of 1-part grass clippings to 2-parts fallen leaves is a good way to start. You can mix in vegetable scraps from the kitchen or debris from your garden clean up as long as you start with the basic ratio. The second layer should be animal manures microorganisms to get the pile working. Water and keep layering (just like lasagna) and watering until you run out of material or reach the top of your bin. Now you wait. After 2 to 4 weeks your pile should be hot in the center. This indicates your pile is working (the lasagna is cooking). Failure to heat would indicate a construction flaw: too much water, too little water, too little nitrogen, or too little a pile.

For more on composting visit our website - Composting for the Home Gardener


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