Composting recycles organic waste into organic mulch. According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR), compost enriches gardens, improves soil around trees and shrubs and serves as a soil amendment or landscape top-dressing.
Make home compost by combining organic waste such as leaves, grass clippings, flowers and plants that decay over time. When these organic materials are chopped and blended with water and air, they decompose into rich, soil-texture compost.
Compost made primarily from leaves is high in carbon and slow to decay. Compost made from garden mix materials is high in nitrogen and fast to decay. Neither provides high-quality balanced compost by DNR standards.
Mix leaf waste with garden mix waste. The DNR suggests composting with alternate layers of leaves and garden mix.
Use about 30 parts high carbon such as leaves with about 1 part high nitrogen such as garden mix or grass clippings. Add more nitrogen for a hotter compost mix. Add more shredded leaves for aeration or cooling the compost process.
As the leaf and garden mix compost heap or bin is watered and turned regularly, the ingredients mature into dark, crumbly organic material. Use this compost as mulch, soil amendment or in planter boxes. This stable compost releases balanced nutrients and does not decay too slowly or too quickly.
- Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources: Homeowners' Composting Guide
- U.S. Composting Council Fact Sheet
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Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.