Here are some eye-opening statistics: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, yard trimmings and food waste account for 23 percent of the U.S. waste stream. That means things that break down quite well naturally, like grass clippings and apple cores, are sitting in landfills creating tons of methane gas. Why is that so bad? “Methane is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (EPA).” techpiled

The EPA and many private companies are working on ways to turn methane and other landfill gases into renewable energy. But perhaps the best way to combat these harmful gases is to cut down on what creates them, which is something people can do in their own backyard. Composting is an easy and inexpensive way to help the environment, while improving your own garden. realisticmag

Composting speeds up the natural process of the decomposition of organic matter by providing the perfect environment for bacteria to break things down. What results is a product that looks like dark, fertile garden soil that is full of nutrients to help plants grow. According the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, decomposing organisms–the bacteria–need four things to survive: nitrogen, carbon, moisture and oxygen. The key to good compost is to balance materials high in nitrogen, like fresh grass clippings, with materials high in carbon, like dried leaves. Ideally, the moisture is provided by rain, but that is a little hard to count on around here. A dousing from the garden hose may be necessary from time to time. Finally, the oxygen comes from turning and mixing the compost pile on a regular basis; the more often the materials are turned, the faster they break down. mommasays

Composting can be simple or elaborate, depending on how much yard waste you have, how quickly you want things to decompose and how much time you are willing to put into it. If there is little yard waste and no big need to use the compost for fertilizer, slow composting may be the way to go. This is simply using a small corner of the yard for piling compost materials, or putting them in a bin, and then letting nature takes its course, which may take as long as a year to produce good compost for fertilizer. If you are willing to put a little more effort in, it’s possible to produce usable compost every few weeks.

Step one: Create a compost area, either directly on the ground with a layer of wood chips or in a bin. There are many styles of bins available at home improvement or hardware stores, but it is also easy to construct your own out of wire mesh or even using a large container you may have on hand. Make sure the area/container has good drainage, or you’ll just end up with a smelly soup.

Step two: Start the pile with the following EPA recommended materials: grass and yard clippings, leaves, house plants, fruits and vegetables, coffee grinds and filters, egg shells, nut shells, dryer and vacuum lint, clean paper, cardboard rolls, cotton and wool rags, sawdust, shredded newspaper, fireplace ashes and hair and fur.

DO NOT use: Diseased/insect infested plants, chemically treated yard trimmings, pet waste, dairy products, meat and fish bones/scraps, oils or lards, coal or charcoal ashes.

Building the pile can be as high tech as alternating nitrogen-rich material with carbon materials or as low tech as putting things in the pile when they accumulate. Keep a small trash can under the kitchen sink for coffee grinds and appropriate food leftovers. Yard waste can be added directly to the pile. For more Info please visit these sites:-

Step 3: Keep the pile moist but not saturated.

Step 4: After the pile has had some time to accumulate, turn it on a regular basis to aid in the composting process. In a few weeks time you will have a nutrient-rich compost that can be added back into garden beds and even at the base of trees. Composting is a small act that has big rewards for gardens and the environment.