What is Compost?

• Compost is a mix of organic matter such as dead leaves and food scraps that has been broken down into its smallest parts.
• Plants then absorb these nutrients to grow and stay healthy.
• This is nature’s own recycling system!
•  Adding compost to your gardens is the best way to improve the quality of your soil and grow healthy plants.
• It increases water and fertilizer retention and encourages earthworms and other insects that help break down the compost to live in the soil.
• Compost is a mix of organic matter such as dead leaves and food scraps that has been broken down into its smallest parts.
• Plants then absorb these nutrients to grow and stay healthy.
• This is nature’s own recycling system!
•  Adding compost to your gardens is the best way to improve the quality of your soil and grow healthy plants.
• It increases water and fertilizer retention and encourages earthworms and other insects that help break down the compost to live in the soil.



What Materials Should You Add To A Compost Pile?

• There is no correct way to make compost; no matter what you do, everything will eventually turn into compost. But, there are some ingredients you need to quicken the process:
1. Carbon (aka the “brown” stuff). This includes dried leaves, straw, corn stalks, sawdust, woody landscape trimmings, and shredded paper.
2. Nitrogen (aka the “green” stuff). This includes grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, manure, leafy prunings, and dying plants from your garden.
3. Water.
4. Oxygen. Let your compost breathe by turning it every few weeks. This allows your compost pile to retain heat and decompose faster. However, if you just let your pile sit, it will eventually decompose but at a much slower pace.
The smaller the ingredients, the faster they will decompose.



What NOT To Put In Your Compost Pile.

• Meat, fat, pet droppings, bones, milk, diseased plants, cheese, or oil.
• Using these things will cause unwanted animals to dig up your compost and will spread diseases back into the soil.


What Should You Do If Your Compost Begins To Smell?

• If your compost pile is correctly constructed and maintained, it will not smell. In fact, it should have a rich, earthy odor.
• If it does begin to smell, it means that you have too much or too little of either the “brown” or “green” stuff.
• Ammonia-like odor: too much “brown” stuff containing nitrogen. Add more “green” stuff containing carbon.
• Rotten odor: too much “green” stuff. Add more “brown” stuff.
• Remixing the pile will add oxygen, which will also help your odor problem and better your compost pile.



What's The Best Way To Make A Compost Pile At Home?

• You can use a purchased or homemade compost bin or simply pile up your materials to make your compost in your backyard. Just remember that if you decide to purchase or build a container, make sure that it will be accessible for all members of your family. The design of some containers makes it difficult for shorter people to open or use, so keep that in mind!
• If you decide to not use a container, make sure that you keep the sides of the pile as straight as you can and cover it with a plastic tarp to protect it from the weather.



Resources

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/kidsPage/compost.html
http://www.kidsgardening.com/
http://sustainable.tamu.edu/slidesets/kidscompost/cover.html
http://www.downtownhomeandgarden.com/store3.cfm?item_ID=93#
http://www.seedsofchange.com/enewsletter/issue_59/green_winter.asp
http://www.lsa.umich.edu/mbg/learn/CC_About.asp
http://www.a2gov.org/compost