Gardening in the Zone: Composting Fall Leaves

In 1991 The Solid Waste Reduction Act prohibited the disposal of yard waste in area land fills. This encouraged many
gardeners to try composting. And here to tell us more about it is Linda Naeve here at Reiman Gardens. And Linda, what exactly is compost? Well compost is simply
decomposed plant materials left over from your garden such as leaves and
grass clippings. It’s great amendment for garden soils. In a sandy soil it will tighten it up
to allow us better nutrient and water retention in an urban tight urban soil it will loosen up the soil and allow better
air movement for our root development and help hold nutrients. So great for all soils. So a good way to get rid of yard waste
and a good amendment for our soils. Alright then how do you go about making it? Well compost is created like a layer cake in
layers. We start out with six to eight inches of layers of organic material such as grass clippings and leaves and dead
plants that we dig up from our garden in the fall. Just as long as they’re not diseased and we can even add kitchen scraps like banana peels and coffee grounds. We layer that, add a layer of old compost or soil, and this provides us with the microbes that do the
decomposing, A little bit of soil to add some extra
fertilizer nitrogen then we continue to repeat those layers until our bin is full.
This is a good sized bin it’s a three foot by three foot bin and and it’s a
three bin unit so that the gardener can turn the organic material from one bin
into another and then as they’re turning it, we get more rapid
decomposition and by the time they get it to the third bin it’s in the final product
stage. How often should you be turning it? Optimally about once a week so allow the heat to build up then we turn it and mix more oxygen in add a little water and we get more rapid decomposition. And how long does this process take? It’ll usually take two to four months depending on how often you turn it and that’s the best way to do it. Okay, thanks Linda. And if you would like more information on composting, be sure to log onto our websites. For Gardening in the Zone, I’m Liz Gilman.

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