Composting is the process of helping turning "waste" into an earthy smelling material that's like a multivitamin for your garden soil. Compost helps improve your soil structure and water holding capacity, promotes soil fertility, stimulates healthy root development and aids in erosion control.
However, many gardeners often feel confused about the composting process. Here are some FAQ's and their answers.
WHAT CAN I COMPOST?
• Kitchen: fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds, and eggshells.
• Yard waste: grass clippings (except Bermudagrass), leaves, pine needles, and shredded wood chips.
• Rotted manures from non-meat-eating animals are allowed, but not necessary.
WHAT SHOULDN’T I COMPOST?
• Avoid animal products (meat, bones, fish, grease, dairy).
• Ashes from the fireplace or BBQ (can cause pH imbalance in soil).
• Sawdust from treated wood.
• Dirt: this ends up making it heavy and too hard to turn.
• Avoid diseased plants.
• Weeds that have gone to seed, Bermudagrass.
WHAT ARE “GREENS” AND “BROWNS?”
Greens are moist and rich with nitrogen and include vegetable & fruit scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and rotted manures.
Browns are dry and carbon rich, and include dry leaves, straw, sawdust, wood chips, corn stalks, cardboard, and paper.
HOW MUCH GREENS AND BROWNS DO I NEED?
When building a pile, you need to add equal amounts of greens and browns. The easiest way to do this is by using two 5-gallon buckets.
— Information provided by University of California Cooperative Extensive Gardeners of Stanislaus County. For more information about composting, view this UCCE video: bit.ly/GardenBasics