Backyard composting
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MECKLENBURG COUNTY SOLID WASTE AUTHORITY. Backyard Composting. Producing your own “Black Gold”. The Natural Cycle. Leaves Decomposing. The breakdown releases nutrients. Backyard Composting. Where to place your compost pile. Within reach of a garden hose Convenient to your house

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Backyard Composting

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MECKLENBURG COUNTY SOLID WASTE AUTHORITY

Backyard Composting

Producing your own “Black Gold”


The Natural Cycle


Leaves Decomposing


The breakdown releases nutrients


Backyard Composting


Where to place your compost pile

  • Within reach of a garden hose

  • Convenient to your house

  • If possible, away from trees or bushes (roots will find compost)

  • At least 30’ from streams, wells or lakes (nitrogen runoff)

  • Be considerate of your neighbor’s view

  • Think: Two Piles


Materials for making a bin


Measure out 12 ½ feet of wire


Cut one end flush, one w/prongs


Set upright forming a cylinder


Fasten ends w/prongs facing out


Completed bin


Start with a layer of leaves


Easy measuring: 3 sections = 1’


Break up any clumps


50 lbs provides organic nitrogen


Sprinkle some on top of first layer


Use pellets instead of meal


Mix pellets into the leaves


As damp as a wrung out sponge


Add another layer of leaves


Each layer approximately 1’


More pellets


Mix together


Add water to each layer


Cap with final layer of leaves


Completed batch


Adding kitchen scraps


Place scraps into the hole


Push down into the pile


Cover scraps with leaves


Mark the spot for reference


Pile heats up, volume decreases


Turning the pile

  • Turn one week after assembling

  • Turn at least every three to four weeks

  • The more you turn the pile, the faster it will decompose

  • If you have more than one pile, you can combine piles as they decrease in volume


Unfasten the prongs


Unwrap the pile


Set up near first pile


Toss the pile back into the bin


Add water, if necessary


Pile starting to breakdown


Worms love compost


Compost in action


Less fertilizer needed


Compost loosens our clay soils


What can go into a compost pile?

  • Leaves

  • Fruit/vegetable peels, stems

  • Spoiled fruit and vegetables

  • Egg shells

  • Coffee grounds and filters

  • Tea leaves and bags

  • Hard-shelled nuts (crushed)


What can go into a compost pile?

  • Peanut Shells

  • Clam and oyster shells (ground)

  • Canning/preserving wastes

  • Stale bread

  • Used napkins/paper towels

  • Manure from horses, cows and chickens

  • Recycled compost


What should not be included:

  • Dog droppings

  • Cat litter and droppings

  • Charcoal Ashes

  • Chemically treated plant material

  • Invasive weeds and plants

  • Diseased or infested plants

  • Glossy slick paper

  • Poisonous or thorny plants


Where to use your compost

  • New garden beds and plantings

    • Dig in 2-3” of compost in top 6”

  • Vegetable gardens/transplants

    • 2-3” on beds and some in each hole

  • Existing garden beds

    • 1” layer around plants


Where to use your compost

  • Natural areas

    • ½” under mulch

  • Side dressings trees/shrubs

    • Scratch ½” from 1” out from the stem or trunk of plant out to drip line

  • Lawns

    • After aeration, spread ½” of compost and rake in

  • Houseplants

    • 2/3 potting soil, 1/3 compost


Other uses:

  • Compost Tea

  • Unfinished Compost


Vermicomposting

Worms:

  • Can be bred easily at home or school

  • Can be used to recycle organic waste from your kitchen into valuable fertilizer

  • Produce castings which have a neutral pH (around 7)

  • Castings increase the amount of nutrient available to your plants by up to 10 times.

  • Castings increase crop and pasture yields

  • Increase the level of essential microbial activity in the soil

  • Consume their own body weight in food every day

  • Double in population every 2-3 months, in ideal conditions


  • What do I need?

    • An aerated container

    • Bedding such as shredded newspaper

    • Moisture and proper temperature

    • Small amount of soil

    • Redworms (Eisenia fetida)


  • Q&A

Compost Central

704 588 5898

Steve Elliot

CAROL BUIE-JACKSON

704 814 0877

[email protected]

www.smelllikedirt.com

Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Authority

www.wipeoutwaste.com


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