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Gardening : What to Put in Compost Pile

Landfill areas are quickly becoming full, and no one wants a new one built near them. When you consider that it takes 10 to 12 years for cigarette filters to decompose, 5 years for milk cartons, 30 to 40 years for nylons and 80 to 100 years for aluminum, it’s clear we need to do as much recycling as possible at home.

A good compost pile is about 50% dry organic material such as leaves, grass cuttings, wood chips, pine needles and dried weeds. Kitchen waste provides the next 35% of moist organic material, but do not put bones, grease or meat scraps into this. Sometimes grass cuttings are considered to be moist, however, they do go into the pile. The remaining 15% is either old compost or more preferable, manure. A top coat of garden soil will complete the picture when you water it well enough to get it all moist but not soggy.

Place the pile away from the house and in a semi-shady area. A pile that is 3 feet by 3 feet is easy to work since the soil should be turned at least once a week to compost quickly. The use of some of the compost starters will help you get compost in as little as two weeks.


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