Composting and Soil Resources
Composting is a natural way to turn yard waste into rich organic material that can be put back into the garden and kept out of the landfill.In the United States only 6% of the food waste is composted annually and approximately 28% of the trash going to landfill is made up of compostable material. When added to garden soils, compost:
- Protects soil from erosion and compaction.
- Provides nutrients for plant growth.
- Makes soil easier to till in tight clay soils.
- Increases water holding capacity of sandy soils and improves drainage.
Below are some helpful links:
- Biological Soil Amendments
- Composting Process
- Compost Troubleshooting Guide
- Gardening in Lead Contaminated Soil
- Making Compost- A Beginner's Guide
- Quick Composting
- Recycling Grass Clippings
- Starting a Composting Bin
- Soil Testing
- Vermicomposting (Video)
- What to do with Leaves in the Fall
Living Soils with Shawnee County Master Gardeners
Soil is a living, dynamic ecosystem and its complexity might surprise you. Learn the practices that result in healthy soils for improved plant health, vigor and disease resistance.
Frequently Asked Questions on Composting
What Materials Can be Composted?
Most yard and many food items can be composted. Compost piles need a mix of brown materials (high in carbon) and green materials (high in nitrogen) in order to successfully break down.Avoid using materials that have been sprayed by herbicides, have diseases or have insects in compost piles as they won't get hot enough to kill the pathogens and insects. Herbicide residue can persist in a compost pile and damage plants the next season.
How do I pick the Right Type of Bin?
There are a variety of different types of compost bins that can be used in a home backyard. Some are relatively cheap to make such as using pallets to make a bin or you can purchase premade ones commercially. Ultimately the right type of compost bin will depend on your situation.
How do I use my Compost?
Compost is most commonly used in home gardens to enrich the soil and add nutrients however compost can also be used in different applications such as around flowers in beds, as a thin layer in the lawn or before you plant a new flower bed.
How long does it take?
Composting can be a fast process or it can take up to a year depending on your type of bin and what style of compost you decide to do. Ultimately it also depends on how you manage your compost pile.