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Publication: Living Green
Home composting is almost maintenance free!

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          LIVING GREEN - Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Good morning, 

So you have diverted all of that yard and kitchen waste from 
your trash cans and into your compost pile in the back yard. 
But does it just sit there and rot? And what do you have to 
do in order to turn it from grass, leaves and kitchen garbage 
into a valuable product you can use around your own home? 

The answer is very little. Basically keep it damp and attack 
it once a week with a shovel. 

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find out how little 
work goes into maintaining a healthy pile and producing 
valuable compost. 

Thanks for reading, 

Your Living Green editor 


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Maintaining your compost pile... 

* Compost piles or bins should be placed on flat ground, in 
an area that is convenient to the garden and easy to reach 
with a wheelbarrow. The best place for low-maintenance com-
post pile is on the shady side of a building, like a garage, 
or under the shade of a tree, where it is easy to keep moist 
in summer. 

* Air. Composting is the natural, healthy decomposition of 
organic material by microbes and bacteria. In order to get 
these microbes and bacteria to thrive you need both air and 
moisture. Turning your compost heap once a week with a manure 
shovel or fork will ensure plenty of air. 

* Moisture. Compost materials should feel like a wrung out 
sponge; moist to touch, but no more than a few drops of 
water should come out when compost is squeezed in your hand. 

* During extended dry weather you should water your compost 
pile, and then only enough to moisten it, not drench the 

* Proper temperature is very important. Much heat energy is 
released by microorganisms as decay occurs. Check the tem-
perature with a thermometer. The experienced composter 
usually checks the temperature by putting his hand 8 inches 
deep in the pile. The compost should feel too warm to hold 
your hand in for more than a few seconds. The temperature of 
140-150 F is needed to kill many of the pathogenic diseases 
and weed seeds. Failure to reach this temperature might be 
caused by too much water, improper aeration, too little 
nitrogen or too small a pile. 

       Check back tomorrow to find out what to 
       do with all that compost when it's ready! 


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