How Does Your Garden Grow? Fall Composting Tips
Composting is gathering green material and brown material—from your garden, kitchen scraps, and other materials—and putting them together in one spot to let them break down. Green material (aka nitrogen) has moisture in it—like fresh, green grass clippings, and veggie peels from the kitchen. Brown material (aka carbon) is totally or nearly totally dry—like brown grass clippings and newspaper.
Fall is the time to gather lots of brown material from the yard and stash your supply for months of adding to the compost pile. As we all know, in abundance right now are leaves.
The easiest way to stash your supply of fallen leaves is to make a pile using chicken wire or other fencing to keep it contained. As you add green material to your compost, you can now easily add brown material from your stockpile.
The greatest part about hoarding your leaves is they decompose while they wait to be added to your mix, reducing the time it takes to get finished compost. An extra bonus is that your collection of brown material won’t create nuisance smells.
There is lots of brown material from the house you might have overlooked, as well. Excellent brown ingredients include paper, mail, newspaper, the cardboard rolls from toilet paper and paper towels, dryer lint, stale bread, crackers, and cereals. How about lightly used paper plates and napkins? Yes, indeed! Even cereals and crackers that have gone stale are a perfect mix for your compost.
- Think of your compost pile as being vegan and you can’t go wrong. This means avoiding meat or dairy, so the compost pile doesn’t attract nuisance pests, create smells, or accidentally grow harmful bacteria.
- If you don’t want to grow it, don’t put it in. Weeds, vines, or diseased plants should not be in the pile.
Garden Tip: When leaves are on the lawn, use the mulching attachment for your mower. Adding the combination of chopped up fresh grass clippings and dry leaves to the pile is composting gold!
See Composting 101 for more great information on how to make and use compost at home.
Reprinted with permission from Green Acres Nursery & Supply—a Sacramento-based, family-owned independent garden center with seven retail locations across the region.