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Composting is Easy!

a capital green letter A with a yellow cats paw printcompost pile can be set up in a corner of the yard with few supplies. Choose a level spot about 3- to 5-feet square near a water source and preferably out of direct sunlight. Clear the area of sod and grass. When building a composting bin, such as with chicken wire, scrap wood, or cinder blocks, be sure to leave enough space for air to reach the pile. One removable side makes it easier to tend the pile.

yellow cats paw printMany foods can be composted, including vegetable trimmings, egg shells, coffee grounds with filters, and tea bags. In addition to leaves, grass, and yard clippings, vacuum cleaner lint, wool and cotton rags, sawdust, shredded newspaper, and fireplace ashes can be composted. DO NOT compost meats, dairy foods, or any fats, oil, or grease because they can attract pests.

yellow cats paw printStart the pile with a 4-inch layer of leaves, loose soil, or other coarse yard trimmings. If you are going to compost food scraps (a slightly more involved process), you should mix them with yard trimmings when adding them to the pile. Alfalfa meal or clean cat litter may be added to the pile to absorb odors. In dry weather, sprinkle water on the pile, but don't get it too soggy. Turn the pile every few weeks with a pitchfork to circulate air and distribute moisture evenly. Don't be surprised by the heat of the pile or if you see worms, both of which are part of the decomposition process. Make sure children do not play in the composting pile or bin.

yellow cats paw printIn most climates, the compost is done in 3 to 6 months when it becomes a dark crumbly material that is uniform in texture. Spread it in the garden or yard beds or under the shrubbery. The compost also can be used as potting soil.


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