Archive for How to Compost

How to Compost Leaves the Easy Way

  Raking up Future Compost!

Fall is coming and so are those wonderful leaves.  Yes, I said  wonderful leaves!  Did you know that those leaves falling outside  your window are a great source of organic material for making compost? 

It’s true—leaves are an excellent organic material for making compost for a couple of reasons:

1.    Since trees usually have extensive root systems, leaves end up being the recipient of all those nutrients gathered from the soil.

2.    Leaves are highly fibrous improving the aeration and composition of the soil.

Now, I can hear you saying, "I tried to compost my leaves, but it  didn’t work."  Probably most people have had some negative experience trying to compost leaves.  Actually, leaves can take several years to break down if you fail to compost them properly.  Don’t worry, learning how to compost leaves is not nearly as difficult as you may think. We are going to show you the easy way to compost leaves.

The first question many people ask is "What kind of leaves work best for composting?"  Just about any typical leaf works great.   Here are some of the most common leaf types:

·         White Ash

·         American Beech

·         Balsam Fir

·         Eastern Hemlock

·         Red Maple

·         Sugar Maple

·         White Oak

We should mention that if oak or beech leaves are used exclusively the resulting compost will be a bit more acidic making it quite suitable for plants such as rhododendrons and blueberries.  You  can lower the acidity by adding some limestone to the leaves as you fill your compost bin or compost pile.

There are two important things that you must do when you compost leaves to ensure that your leaves will compost properly.  The first thing is to make sure your leaves are shredded when adding them to your composter, compost tumbler or compost pile.

Shredding your leaves is quite easy.  You can mow over them several times before you rake them up.  Also, there are a number of  manufacturers who make shredder / chippers that work great for  leaves.  I even had a gasoline powered blower that had a vacuum attachment for picking up leaves, which left the leaves in a nice shredded state.

The second important thing you must do when you compost leaves is to make sure that you add nitrogen to your compost bin or compost pile.   Leaves contain very little nitrogen.  It is this lack of nitrogen that causes the leaves to decay slowly.  Adding nitrogen to your compost bin or compost pile will help to speed up the decomposition process of the leaves.   Adding nitrogen can be as simple as adding grass clippings with the leaves as you fill your compost tumbler or compost bin.

Other sources of nitrogen include manure, dried blood, alfalfa meal, and bone meal.  If you are using manure, use one part manure to five parts leaves.  If you are using a natural source of nitrogen such as dried blood, use two cups per wheelbarrow load of leaves.

Once you have shredded your leaves and found an additional nitrogen source, you simply add your leaves and nitrogen source to your compost tumbler, compost bin or compost pile and keep the leaves moist but not wet and allow nature to do its thing.  You will of course want to keep your leaves turned on a fairly regular basis if you are using a compost bin or compost pile.

If you want to make the composting process quicker and easier, a compost  tumbler works the best.  With a compost tumbler you are able to easily turn your compost on a weekly basis keeping the organic material well-mixed thereby speeding up the decomposition process.  With a compost  tumbler you can have compost in as little as 3 or 4 weeks.

A great compost tumbler for composting leaves is the Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler.

  Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler

If you are looking for a very simplistic compost bin to use to compost your leaves, the Wishing Well Compost Bin fits the bill just fine.

  Wishing Well Compost Bin

Hopefully, at this point you will look on those falling leaves a little more favorably.  Taking some time to compost leaves in the fall will result in great compost to use in your garden in the spring.  So go outside, rake some leaves and make some compost!

Both of the composters mentioned above are available in our Store and they include FREE SHIPPING.

For additional information on composting you may want to read  "What Can You Compost?"  You can also check out our website www.goodcompost.com for more information on composting and a great selection of composting products.  Happy raking and composting!

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Composting in your kitchen: 5 easy co… – Seattle Post Intelligencer

Here are some great ideas on composting in the kitchen…

Composting in your kitchen: 5 easy containers
Seattle Post Intelligencer
The carton won’t leak – it’s waxed – so it’s OK to keep on the kitchen counter but will break down at the compost facility. Do not use this method if the and more »

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How to Compost

Compostable Materials

Compostable Materials


It is estimated that the average person throws away around 4 pounds of garbage per day.  Around 75 percent of that garbage is comprised of organic matter, which means it is compostable.  Isn’t it time we started doing our part to reduce the amount of garbage ending up in landfills and learned how to compost?

Composting is a natural, biological process through which organic wastes are reduced to humus, which is dark, earth like organic matter that has reached the point where it will not break down any further.

This compost or humus greatly improves soil texture and better enables the soil to retain nutrients, moisture and air for the support of healthy flowers and vegetables.

Composting is actually a way to speed up the natural, biological process of organic degradation. and it is something we can all do to help the environment.  In fact, it is rather easy to learn how to compost.

As we learn how to compost, it is important to remember that there is no “right or wrong” way to compost.  You can make good compost in a pile or heap in your backyard or you can make good compost in a manufactured composter.

To learn how to compost means we understand that the secret to making good compost is the proper mix of organic material.  There are three main ingredients involved in composting.

1. Browns-dead leaves, branches, cardboard, paper, etc.
2. Greens-grass clippings, fruit and vegetable wastes and coffee grounds
3. Water

The browns add carbon to your compost pile, the greens add nitrogen and the water provides moisture to assist in the breakdown of organic matter.  Your pile or composter should contain equal amounts (50%/50%) of browns and greens with enough water to make the organic matter moist but not soggy.

How do I start composting?  At this point we have a better idea of how to compost.  Now, let’s consider how you get started composting.

1. Determine which method you desire to use.  Will you create a compost pile or heap?  Will you build a compost bin?  Or, will you purchase a manufactured composter or compost spinner?

2. Next, start being diligent in separating your garbage.  Start setting aside organic materials that can be added to your compost pile or composter.  Of course material such as vegetable peelings, coffee grounds and egg shells can be added.  But, you can also add things like toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls and shredded cardboard as well.

I have a cross-cut shredder, so I shred all “white” paper from my junk mail, and I add this shredded paper to my compost bin.  Do not use colored paper or paper printed with colored inks as these are not good for your compost.  Also, be sure to keep out things such as envelopes with glassine windows, as these materials do not readily break down in the composting process.

Finally, yard waste such as grass clippings are great additives to your compost pile or composter.  Be careful not to put weeds or invasive plants in your compost pile or composter because you do not want to run the risk of these plants “infecting” your compost.

3. The last step in learning how to compost is to remain committed to your composting endeavor. Composting is truly good for the environment in that it reduces the amount of solid waste that makes it to landfills plus it produces nutrient-rich compost, which is a great soil amendment for your garden.

As you can see, learning how to compost is not as daunting of a task as you may have expected.  Composting is a wonderful way to recycle your garbage in to nutrient-rich compost to be used in your garden, while at the same time reducing the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills.

Start composting today!  Composting is good for the environment and your garden. For a great selection of composters and compost spinners check out www.goodcompost.com – all order ship FREE!

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