Yard waste to generate garden compost. Learn how to make compost with lawn clippings, leaves, grass, and more.
Many towns and cities of all sizes are encouraging people to bring their yard debris and green waste into central recycling centers so that the yard waste can be composted.
The primary purpose of these efforts is to reduce the burden on the landfills while at the same time providing recycling composting fertilizer for public parks and facilities. In some municipalities, people can “trade-in” their yard debris for compost that they can use on their property.
Organic Waste Recycling And Benefits Of Composting
This use of yard waste on a municipal level has helped reduce the burden on the landfills while making people more aware of the importance of organic waste recycling and the benefits of composting.
At the same time, the parks and recreation departments can cut their budgets for fertilizer and soil treatments by utilizing compost to treat and improve the soil in the parks. Some cities also use the compost to support community vegetable garden projects as well.
Most Yard Waste Is Leaves, Grass, Shrub and Hedge Trimmings
In most cases, the most significant portion of raw materials comes from the local yard waste, a combination of leaves, lawn and grass clipping, shrub and hedge trimmings, and very small, pruned branches from trees.
In addition, the larger branches and even small trees can be ground up, and the mulch can go on the compost heap and the crop of Christmas trees that are shredded each year.
Compost Your Yard Debris
Of course, individual households can easily compost their yard debris as well, without needing to either wait for the pick-up schedule or for their municipality to institute such a program.
Backyard composting is quite simple to start, and there are compost bins available on the market for those with small or large backyards. Even those who live in apartments can enjoy the benefits of recycling their organic kitchen waste.
Home Composting Better Than Public Composting Piles
Home composting can be a better solution. This is because most municipalities exclude certain organic waste products from the public composting piles that gardeners can readily add to your composting project.
For instance, you can include newspapers, coffee grounds, crushed eggshells, fruit rinds, and vegetable peels at home. You cannot include any of these items with your yard waste for curbside pick-up most of the time.
You can include all of these items right alongside your yard waste and debris and throw it all right on your compost heap with backyard composting. However, you should never include animal meat, bones, pet feces, or any dairy products. These waste items will attract vermin and pests to your backyard and interfere with the decomposition process.
It has been estimated that by separating yard waste from other garbage and turning that organic material into compost, municipalities can reduce the amount of trash sent to their landfills by up to 20%, depending on the season.
This can help make a significant difference for the future and, at the very least, buy some time while the decision-makers figure out how to deal with the landfill issues. At the very least, every homeowner can do their part by either composting their green waste themselves or separating it and putting it out for municipal pick-up.
Use Waste To Make A Good Compost
The Mixture of Opposites
• 1/3 of green waste (fresh plants, peelings, and leftovers …) and 2/3 of brown waste (dried plants, straw, cardboard, branches …).
• 50% fine waste / 50% waste coarse. A little water but not too much!
• If pressing compost, water flows, it is too wet: add dry elements (brown waste).
• If it crumbles, add green waste or a little water.
• “Air!” mix s regularly as possible compost for good ventilation.
Balanced compost does not give off odors. Stir the compost properly will allow good aeration, and microorganisms will work better to avoid bad smells.
How and When to Use His Compost?
After 4 to 12 months, gardeners will transform the materials into compost, thanks to the intervention microorganisms and the time elapsed. When the compost is ready, you can not identify the actual waste that has broken down, except perhaps eggshells or pieces of wood (if necessary, you can sieve your seedling before use). He must smell the forest and have a very dark color.
Read More: Here’s How To Handle The Waste
Qualities of Compost
Young compost (4 to 6 months) For surface use, it has high fertilizing power but requires taking some precautions: never bury it, and use it only for seedlings already well developed and demanding organic matter (tomato, pumpkin, zucchini, cabbage …).
The Benefits of Compost
• It improves the soil by acting on its porosity and its ability to retain minerals and water.
• It enriches the soil by bringing a large number of minerals and trace elements. His action is more durable than chemical fertilizers.
• It also promotes the biodiversity of micro-fauna.
Mature compost (9 to 12 months) Any use, surface, sowing, potting Has an amending and fertilizing effect; incorporate it on the ground when digging late autumn or late winter a few weeks before sowing. Mix it with soil to make it potting after sieving (1/3 of ripe compost for 2/3 of soil). Spread it sifted on the lawn.
In the Kitchen Garden
• Spread up to 3 to 5 kg / m2 in preparation for the land.
• Ideal also for sowing and planting that you can cover from 2 to 3 mm compost.
In your Planters
• Deposit 3 to 4 mm of clay bottom of the pot, then prepare a 40% earth and 60% compost mixture.
In your Greenspaces
• In maintenance for your lawns, fall after the last mowing and the passage of the aerator roller spread a mixture of 1/3 of sand and 2/3 of compost from 2 to 4 kg / m2. Your lawn “Will leave more beautiful” in the spring.
• At the foot of your plantations (shrubs, trees, rose bushes), spread a thin layer of compost, scratch, and water.
Composting is an excellent way to manage food waste. Like leaf and yard waste composting, compost from food waste is a valuable soil amendment. When added to gardens and lawns, finished compost will increase soil moisture retention, provide additional nutrients, and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.
Composting food waste reduces the quantity of waste disposed of in landfills and incinerators and saves money. In rural communities especially, residents can easily compost food waste on their property, with or without yard waste. This activity does not require a permit. With a permit, food waste can also be composted at centralized facilities, such as solid waste transfer stations.
As with leaf and yard waste composting, it is essential to understand the basic science of composting to achieve a high-quality finished compost without producing adverse effects, such as odors, and without attracting rodents, flies, and other pests. See the table on the reverse side. Also, read the Leaf & Yard Waste Composting BMP Guidance Sheet to learn more about the science of composting. It is also essential to understand specific terminology,
Including Composting Terms & Definitions
• Feedstock – the mixture of organic wastes brought to your facility for composting.
• Greens – organic wastes are high in nitrogen (green grass and leaves, food waste, and garden cuttings.
• Browns – organic wastes are high in carbon (autumn leaves, wood chips, or sawdust).
• Carbon-to-Nitrogen Ratio (C: N ratio) – the balance of energy and nutrients needed by microorganisms.
• Windrow – a pile with a shorter height and width but greater length (example: 8’ by 12’ by 60’).
• Plant Pathogens – microscopic organisms such as bacteria and viruses that are harmful to other plants.
Best Management Practices for Food Waste Composting
The following BMPs may differ, depending on whether you use windrow, static pile, or in-vessel methods.
• Mix roughly equal amounts by weight of browns and greens to provide the proper 30:1 C: N ratio.
• Do not leave food waste uncovered for more than 2 hours and blend all food waste into a window within 24 hours after its arrival or store the food waste in a closed container to avoid odors and pests (birds, rodents, etc.).
• Routinely turn each windrow or pile to maintain aerobic (oxygen-rich) conditions.
• Do not turn windrows during cold winter days or rainstorms.
Best Management Practices for N.H. Solid Waste Facilities
Food Waste Composting Did You Know?
• Bacteria are the essential component of the composting process.
• Chopping up all the compost ingredients into pieces less than 2 inches in size will speed up the composting process.
• Charcoal and wood ash can be used to control odors during the composting process; however, too much ash can harm plants growing in the compost.
Compost piles are too close to one another and too tall.
Poor drainage allows water to accumulate between windows.
• Consider applying water after windy days as windrows may have become too dry.
• It can take two or more days for compost piles kept at temperatures greater than 140°F to kill weed seeds and plant pathogens; at temperatures above 155°F, it may take only a few hours. However, do not allow windrow temperatures to remain above 155°F for more than a few hours, as beneficial organisms will also begin to die.
• Periodically check moisture levels. Grab a handful of compost from inside the pile and squeeze. If it drips, it is too wet, adding more dry material and turning the pile. It is about right if it is damp but does not drip when you do the squeeze test.
• Pile heights can vary based on space and type of equipment available but should not be more than 10 feet.
• Do not compost domestic animal fecal matter. It may contain viruses that Viruses will not kill during the composting process.
• Do not compost feedstock containing weeds that have gone to seed because they may survive the composting process.
• Allow the compost to mature/stabilize until it no longer reheats after turning. It should have a dark brown to black color, a crumbly cake-like texture, and an earthy odor.
• If considering composting sludge or septage, you must comply with the NHDES sludge and septage rules.
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