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A presentation at Countryside Flower Shop and Nusery in Crystal Lake, IL on the basics of composting.

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  • Composting is the biological decomposition of organic material into a humus-like substance. Composting is actually very easy. It does take time but you can do some things to speed up the process. In the end it is an easy and practical way to improve your garden and our environment
  • Composting

    1. 1. Composting: The Natural Way to Help Your Garden Countryside
    2. 2. Why Composting? Countryside <ul><li>Yard Waste accounts for 20% of what goes in a landfill </li></ul><ul><li>In Illinois it is illegal to put yard waste into landfills </li></ul><ul><li>In McHenry County we have no landfills </li></ul>
    3. 3. Benefits of Composting Countryside <ul><li>Healthy Soil </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All soils benefit from organic matter </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Healthy Plants </li></ul><ul><li>Less Cost </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t have to buy soil additives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the leaves instead of buying leaf bags </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Easy and Convenient </li></ul>
    4. 4. Composting Basics: How do I start? Countryside <ul><li>Proper Location: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Level, well drained location with half day sun </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Proper Ingredients: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A mix of “green” and “brown” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Adequate Aeration </li></ul><ul><li>Proper Moisture </li></ul>
    5. 5. Ingredients: Countryside Green (high in nitrogen) Browns (high in carbon) Do Not Use Grass Clippings Leaves Bones Prunings Bark Dog/cat feces Fruits and vegetables Straw Oil Houseplants Woodchips Grease Manure: chicken, horse, pig, cow or rabbit Sawdust fat Kitchen scraps: of a vegetative origin Newspaper (shredded) Wood ash Brush (chopped) Meat/fish scraps, dairy products
    6. 6. How to assemble the pile Countryside <ul><li>Pick location </li></ul><ul><li>Pile should be roughly 3ftx3ftx3ft </li></ul><ul><li>Use 1 part green material to 3 parts brown material. Layer with soil or manure to provide beneficial microbes that start the process. Can also use commercial compost starters </li></ul><ul><li>Aerate the pile: Using coarse materials such as twigs, straw or wood chips will help to naturally aerate, but you will have to turn it or use a compost aerator. This should be done every couple of weeks </li></ul><ul><li>Water: Add enough water so that the pile is similar to a wet sponge. Too much water will inhibit the process so you may have to cover the pile </li></ul>
    7. 7. Make Your Own Bin Countryside 1 2 3
    8. 8. Commercial Composters Countryside Batch composter Continuous composting Compost aerator
    9. 9. Troubleshooting Countryside Problem Possible Cause Solution Foul odor Excess moisture Turn pile or add dry material such as straw Compaction Turn the pile or decrease size Ammonia odor Too much nitrogen Add high carbon (brown items) Low temp Pile too small, too little moisture, poor aeration, cold weather Enlarge pile, add water and turn, turn pile, increase pile size or insulate with straw High temp Pile too large, too much nitrogen Reduce pile size or turn, add high carbon (brown) material Pests present Presence of meat scraps, or fatty food waste Remove meat and fatty foods and cover with a layer of soil, switch to animal proof bin
    10. 10. Other Ways to “Compost” Countryside <ul><li>Leave grass clippings on lawn to decompose. Mow more frequently to leave short clippings </li></ul><ul><li>Sheet Composting– rake leaves into perennial beds and leave to decompose naturally. Down side is composting in the soil takes nitrogen from the soil so make sure you fertilize regularly during the spring and summer </li></ul><ul><li>Lasagna Gardening– on the ground or in a raised bed, layer newspaper, peat moss and organic matter. Use as many layers as you would like. Water thoroughly. Plant directly in the pile and then add a layer of mulch </li></ul>