[Blog Post by Ann Hall, Environmental Education Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org]
Compost is composed of two basic types of organic materials: brown material and green material.
- Pine needles
- Dried yard trimmings (dead branches, plants)
- Frozen plant material (from winter freezes)
- Shredded cardboard
- Shredded newspaper
- Nut shells
- Vegetable scraps and peelings
- Fruit cores and peelings
- Egg shells
- Coffee grounds
- Tea bags
- Grass clippings
Brown material is a source of carbon while green material adds nitrogen to the compost bin. Collect leaves in bags or a compost bin. Kitchen scraps may be stored in a small counter top bucket with a lid. When kitchen scraps are abundant, freeze them in zipper top bags to add later to the compost pile. Coffee grounds, filters and used tea bags may also be stored in zipper top bags.
Layering brown material alternately with green material in a compost bin creates a perfect environment for beneficial microorganisms to begin to decompose these organic materials. As the microorganisms break down the sources of carbon and nitrogen, heat is generated. An actively heating compost bin will heat for 3-5 days with a temperature ranging from 80-160 degrees Fahrenheit.
As the bin cools, other decomposers such as small insects will enter the compost bin to continue the maturing process which provides available nutrients for plants. Finished compost may be used on house plants, outdoor ornamental containers, planting beds or vegetable gardens. Turning kitchen and yard waste into useful compost is a rewarding gardening activity.
Free composting classes are offered at 10 am continuing on the first Saturday of February and March at The Woodlands Township’s Parks, Recreation and Environmental Services Department facility located at 8203 Millennium Forest. Join us to learn more about back yard composting.
For details, please visit us online.