‘National Learn About Composting Day’ is May 29, but you can learn today

photo of food waste turning into compost
Photo courtesy Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s Master Gardeners are marking “National Learn About Composting Day,” which falls on May 29, by sharing great composting tips.

There are many good reasons to compost. You save money by making rich, organic soil fertilizer. You reduce erosion. You conserve and replenish groundwater.

And you keep organic material out of landfills. Organic material sent to a landfill creates methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to the negative impacts of our environment.

In his recent article, “The Joy of Composting,” Master Gardener Steve Rees notes that as the earth’s population is growing and people are generating more waste, it’s increasingly important to return organic matter to the soil. This can benefit all species.

“The need for landfill space to accommodate waste stream materials could be reduced by as much as one-third if organic matter is diverted and recycled (composted),” he wrote.

The ingredients for compost are simple and free:

  • Browns: Carbon-rich materials. These provide food for the microorganisms to consume and digest.
  • Greens: Nitrogen-rich materials. These heat up the pile to create ideal conditions for the material to breakdown. 
  • Water (moisture).
  • Air (oxygen).

Think of brown material as truly dead and green material as newly dead, he said.

“Brown organics that are rich in carbon include shredded fallen leaves, coffee filters, sawdust and shavings, ground bark, dead plant stalks, straw, and more,” Rees said. “The materials are generally quite dry.

“Green matter rich in nitrogen includes grass clippings, coffee grounds, tea leaves, egg and crustacean shells, fresh garden trims and peelings from harvested vegetables, certain manures from herbivores, and some animal bedding. They generally have a higher moisture content.”

Find more important details about composting in Rees’s article here.  

2 Comments on “‘National Learn About Composting Day’ is May 29, but you can learn today

  1. Helpful article about composting, but the author doesn’t tell us what the proper C/N ration is!

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