Feature

Tip of the week: How to make compost

Start simple; Layer it on; Lend nature a hand; Mix it up

Start simple. You need only a small space outdoors to start converting food scraps into a “supercharged” soil additive. Start your compost heap with an airy layer of “brown” materials—dry leaves, hay, or shredded newspaper. “The browns provide carbon.”

Layer it on. Add a thinner “green layer” next. This is where food scraps go—fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds. Grass clippings also work well in the green layers, which produce nitrogen. “Continue layering browns and greens in a 2-to-1 ratio, ending with a layer of brown.”

Lend nature a hand. The pile needs to stay slightly moist. Water if needed, and “use a tarp to hold in moisture or keep out rain.”

Mix it up. Using a pitchfork, mix layers weekly to facilitate decomposition. The compost is ready to use as mulch or a top dressing when materials fully break down.

Source: Martha Stewart Living

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