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Ask a Master Gardener OSU Extension Master Gardener Program When things aren’t working Presented by Teri S. Holmes Composting.

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Presentation on theme: "Ask a Master Gardener OSU Extension Master Gardener Program When things aren’t working Presented by Teri S. Holmes Composting."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ask a Master Gardener OSU Extension Master Gardener Program When things aren’t working Presented by Teri S. Holmes Composting

2 Ask a Master Gardener KEYS TO COMPOSTING Moisture Aeration Microorganisms Volume—3ft x 3ft Surface Area Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio—”brown” stuff and “green” stuff— 25:1 is ideal

3 Ask a Master Gardener COMPOST MATERIALS Acceptable materials Clean paper Coffee and tea grounds and filters Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint Eggshells Fruits and vegetables Grass clippings Hay and straw Houseplants Leaves Nut shells Sawdust Shredded newspaper Wood chips Unacceptable materials Dairy Products Fats, grease, lards or oils Meats, fish bones, or scraps Pet wastes (dog and cat primarily) Diseased, insect-ridden plants Black walnut leaves or twigs Coal or charcoal ash

4 Ask a Master Gardener Diagnosing Failure to Thrive Pile doesn’t seem to be decomposing: Pile doesn’t seem to be decomposing: Is the pile dry? Is the pile dry? Add water until sponge wet Add water until sponge wet Has the pile “compacted”? Has the pile “compacted”? Aerate pile Aerate pile Is the pile too wet? Is the pile too wet? Add dry carbon material Add dry carbon material Do you have sufficient “mass”? Do you have sufficient “mass”? Add more compostibles to the pile. Add more compostibles to the pile.

5 Ask a Master Gardener Diagnosing Failure to Thrive Pile doesn’t seem to be decomposing: Pile doesn’t seem to be decomposing: Is the pile in contact with soil? Is the pile in contact with soil? Remove any barriers between soil and pile/bin. Remove any barriers between soil and pile/bin. Are materials chopped/shredded? Are materials chopped/shredded? Shred/tear/smash/chop materials into smaller pieces to create more surface area. Shred/tear/smash/chop materials into smaller pieces to create more surface area. Is the pile exposed to the elements? Is the pile exposed to the elements? Do not seal pile off from weather elements (e.g. cover and seal with black plastic). Do not seal pile off from weather elements (e.g. cover and seal with black plastic).

6 Ask a Master Gardener My pile STINKS!!! My pile STINKS!!! Is the pile too wet? Is the pile too wet? Add dry material Add dry material Is the pile compacted? Is the pile compacted? Aerate Aerate Have you added meats, fats, or oils? Have you added meats, fats, or oils? Remove IMMEDIATELY! Consider disposing of all material and starting over. Remove IMMEDIATELY! Consider disposing of all material and starting over. Diagnosing Failure to Thrive

7 Ask a Master Gardener Help!! I think animals are living in my pile! Help!! I think animals are living in my pile! Don’t make your pile attractive to wildlife: Don’t make your pile attractive to wildlife: NO meats, fats, or oils. NO meats, fats, or oils. Cover/bury spoiled, overripe fruits and vegetables in the pile. Cover/bury spoiled, overripe fruits and vegetables in the pile. Utilize a bin instead of just piling on the ground. Utilize a bin instead of just piling on the ground. Other Issues

8 Ask a Master Gardener I can’t keep my dog out of the compost!! I can’t keep my dog out of the compost!! No meats, fats or oils. No meats, fats or oils. Use a bin with a lid Use a bin with a lid Bury all overripe fruits and vegetables Bury all overripe fruits and vegetables Warning: Onions are toxic to canines. Warning: Onions are toxic to canines. Causes a form of hemolytic anemia. Causes a form of hemolytic anemia. Consider fencing off the area. Consider fencing off the area. Other Issues

9 Ask a Master Gardener RESOURCES Composting Leaf Composting, Recycling Yard Waste: “Don’t Bag It”, OSU Extension Service brochure L pdf 252.pdf Backyard Composting in Oklahoma. OSU Extension Service Fact Sheet, F Composting, USEPA. Keeping Organics out of Landfills. USCC. Vermicomposting Vermicomposting. USEPA. Vermicomposting—Composting with Worms. OSU Extension Fact sheet, BAE California Integrated Waste Management. Vermicomposting.


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