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Let’s Talk About Compost

Fall is the time we usually start to clean up our gardens and rake the falling leaves.  It is also the perfect time to start a compost pile.

Did you know your compost pile is also a chemistry project?  Because all organic matter is made up of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N), it is extremely important to balance these two elements in your compost pile.

It’s also important to get some oxygen into your compost pile so layering our materials is important.  Try not to make the layers compacted.  You can turn over your pile, but do so infrequently so you don’t upset the decomposition process.

Below are some helpful hints on what to place in your compost pile.  If you have any questions about what to add to your compost pile, do not hesitate to call our specialists at Stockslagers Garden Center.

What Can I Add to My Compost Pile?

Dead plants – it depends.  If they are healthy add them to the pile.  If they are diseased, throw them in the trash.

Tomato vines – no.  They have a greater tendency to be diseased and you don’t want to introduce that disease into your garden through contaminated compost.

Old milk and eggs – no.  As a general rule, keep dairy products out of the compost pile.

Dog and cat feces – no.  Absolutely not!  They are not manure and will introduce nasty contaminates into your compost pile and eventually your garden.

Vegetable peels – yes.  Keep a can filled with vegetable scraps when you are cooking and walk it out to the compost pile when the can is full.

Leaves – yes.  Try to add them when they dead and crunchy to achieve the balance of carbon against the nitrogen we talked about earlier.

Grass clippings – depends.  If you use fertilizers, you might want to skip putting your grass clippings into the compost pile because they can introduce elements such as weed killer into your vegetable garden and other areas that may inhibit plant growth.  If you do not use any weed killer or pesticides on your grass, then go ahead and throw the clippings into the compost pile.

Pine needles – yes, but…  These are very acidic and will upset the pH balance of your soil if you use too much of them.

Coffee grounds – yes.  

Pumpkins – yes.  After Halloween is over and they start to rot on your porch, go ahead and throw them into the garden.

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