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Composting: the rotten truth Anne Kolaczyk Purdue University Master Gardener ©2006Anne Kolaczyk.

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Presentation on theme: "Composting: the rotten truth Anne Kolaczyk Purdue University Master Gardener ©2006Anne Kolaczyk."— Presentation transcript:

1 Composting: the rotten truth Anne Kolaczyk Purdue University Master Gardener ©2006Anne Kolaczyk

2 Composting Composting is the transformation of organic material (plant matter) through decomposition into a soil-like material called compost. Invertebrates (insects and earthworms), and microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) help in this transformation.

3 Kinds Bin composting Tumbler composting Sunken pail composting Sheet composting Anaerobic composting Vermicomposting

4 Why do it Environmentally responsible Keeps biodegradable waste out of landfills and sewage plants Alternative to burning Gives you a vibrant garden without chemical fertilizers Saves money Learning tool

5 What it involves Adding ingredients Maintaining proper temperature Turning Maintaining moisture Harvesting

6 Bin composting “backyard composting”

7 Composting bins Ready made Homemade Bin-less pile

8 Ready made Expensive Limited capacity Good if space is an issue

9 Homemade Three bins are best One to fill One that’s “cooking” One to turn others into or to draw from

10 Bin-less pile Just a pile with no partitions Hard to maintain sufficient depth to achieve high enough temperatures Easy and nothing to build Moveable

11 What you can compost Yard waste Kitchen scraps Newspaper Cardboard

12 What not to compost Meat scraps Bones Dairy products Pet waste Diseased plants Invasive weeds

13 C:N ratio Should be 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen by weight Grass Clippings19:1 Leaves 40:1 Equal weight of each would give you approximately 30:1 ratio for pile

14 What’s what Brown (Carbon) Leaves Dirt Grocery bags Bird seed hulls Wood chips Green (Nitrogen) Grass clippings Plant clippings Fertilizer Coffee grounds

15 C:N ratio, my take Whatever!

16 Care of compost Passive Let sit Takes months and months Active Turn often Keep moist (H 2 O 40-60% of weight) Have proper ratio of C:N (30:1) 2-6 weeks (depending on ingredients)

17 Let’s get real ConcernsSolutions I don’t have roomUse commercial bin It takes too long Maintain proper conditions Cut up large pieces It smellsNot if you maintain C:N ratio Temps too low to kill diseases, fungi, weed seeds Use local community composting facility for problem pieces, compost the rest Attracts animalsBury food waste in center

18 Uses Early stages as mulch Keeps weeds from growing Helps retain moisture Beneficial minerals go into soil Later stages for soil amending Enriches soil Helps with moisture retention Removes/reduces need for chemical fertilizers that leach into our ground water

19 What method is right for me??? How much space do I have? Is it indoor or outdoor or both? What do I want to compost? How much waste do I have a week? How and where do I want to use the compost? How much time can I spend on it a week? What’s my ewww! factor? How committed am I to composting?

20 Resources Purdue Extension office Library Internet

21 composting BinTumblerPailSheetVermiAnaerobic Just do it!

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