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Schools#2 Cafeteria Composting Programs - Holly Hill Farm
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Schools#2 Cafeteria Composting Programs - Holly Hill Farm

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  • 1. Composting at Schools Janice McPhillips Holly Hill Farm Cohasset, MA
  • 2. What is compost?
    • Decomposed organic matter (leaves, manure, kitchen scraps, grass and other yard waste), also known as humus
    • The process of decomposition of organic matter into humus
  • 3. Why bother making compost?
    • recycling spent resource into a useful one
    • saves on garbage disposal costs (transportation, bags, dump fees, etc.)
    • creates a valuable organic material for the garden for free (almost)
    • learning about decomposition, soil structure, and returning nutrients to the soil
  • 4. What makes compost happen?
    • microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, and molds
    • earthworms
    • insects including spiders, beetles, pill bugs, millipedes, and more
    • air, water, sunshine, occasional mixing, and time
  • 5.  
  • 6. How can you compost at your school?
    • interested and committed teachers, administrators and custodial staff?
    • cooperative kitchen staff?
    • parents or other volunteers?
    • help the students “own” the process!
    • find a convenient site (near the garden, or cafeteria)
    • ideal site should be partially shaded, near water source
  • 7.  
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  • 11. How do you get started?
    • get a free compost bin from MA DEP ( www.thegreenteam.org )
    • get a free compost bin from your town DPW or local garden club
    • make a bin out of pallets or chicken wire or other containment system
    • buy or make a worm bin for indoor composting
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  • 17. What can you compost?
    • lunch scraps
    • cafeteria food preparation scraps
    • coffee from the teachers’ lounge
    • leaves and garden waste including grass clippings
    • straw, hay, or shavings
    • some paper and cardboard
    • sawdust
    • cow, chicken, or horse manure
  • 18.  
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  • 21. How do you make an outdoor compost pile?
    • layers of “brown” (carbon-rich) and “green” (nitrogen-rich) materials, about a 3:1 ratio by volume
    • add a shovelful of soil every 8-12”
    • water
    • stir frequently
  • 22. Nitrogen and Carbon sources
    • Nitrogen-rich materials:
    • food scraps including coffee grounds
    • manures
    • seaweed
    • grass clippings
    • Carbon-rich materials:
    • leaves
    • sawdust
    • newspaper
    • paper towels
    • straw or shavings
  • 23.  
  • 24. Do NOT to put into a compost pile:
    • meat, dairy, bones, fatty foods like salads with dressing or peanut butter
    • dog or cat waste
    • weeds that have gone to seed
    • diseased plants
    • weeds that spread with runners
  • 25. How long will it take to make finished compost?
    • depends on temperature, what you put in compost, moisture, size of pile, how often it is turned
    • can take as short as 12 weeks or as long as 1 year
  • 26. What can students learn from having a compost pile at your school?
    • math concepts
    • observing and writing
    • predicting
    • microorganisms, earthworms, insects, pH
    • vocabulary
    • food web: producers, consumers, decomposers
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  • 37. What can go wrong?
    • attract unwanted animals
    • bad smell
    • fruit flies
    • students putting things in compost that don’t belong
    • SNOW!
  • 38.  
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  • 40. Make or buy a worm bin for indoor composting
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  • 45. How do you make a worm bin?
    • buy a Rubbermaid Tough Tote
    • drill 1/8” holes every 3” around the bottom and in the cover
    • start with a damp layer of carbon rich “bedding” material like leaves, straw, or shredded paper
    • layer “greens” and “browns” in the same way you would for an outdoor bin
    • make sure to bury food scraps under a layer of bedding to prevent fruit flies
    • add red wiggler worms
  • 46. Need more information? www.mass.gov/dep or www.thegreenteam.org Ann McGovern [email_address] (617) 292-5834