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Composted Earth

Whether you love the colorful foliage or Halloween fun, fall is a beautiful time in Massachusetts.  This year, when the leaves begin to fall, consider making composting part of your autumn routine.

Composting is the decomposition of organic material such as leaves or food waste. When controlled, composting can be extremely beneficial to the environment. Additionally, it reduces the amount of garbage thrown away and keeps you from having to buy more soil, if you are a regular gardener.

What You Need to Start

To begin composting, you need to:

How to Make Compost

Once you have your materials, get started by:

  • Placing the bin in a shaded area to prevent materials within it from drying out.
  • Layering the compost materials in 2-8 inch layers, starting with “brown” ingredients such as leaves or straw. As you fill up the bin, aim to have the compost pile made up of three parts “brown” ingredients for every one part of “green” ingredients. “Green” ingredients include grass clippings, weeds, and vegetable waste. Moreover, provide some room for air between the layers.
  • Adding water until the materials feel like a damp sponge.
  • Stirring the pile with a hoe or a compost turning tool to add more oxygen to the compost. This should only be done twice to allow composting to finish within a year.

Where to Use Compost

Once your compost is dark brown and you can no longer recognize the materials, it is ready for use. There are many ways to use your compost, including but not limited to:

  • Mixing compost with topsoil one month prior to planting a garden.
  • Creating potting soil by stirring compost with an equal amount of sand and loam. Add it to the soil surrounding the plants in your garden.
  • Spreading it over your lawn to rejuvenate the soil.

Take advantage of nature’s bounty this fall and start composting leaves that collect on your lawn. Once spring returns, you’ll have a healthy lawn supported by rich soil without needing to spend extra money.

Have you started composting? Share your experience with us by commenting below or tweeting us @MassGov

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