Home Composting

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Composting yard, garden, and food waste at home saves transportation and disposal cost, and provides an environmentally sound way to manage waste, since yard waste makes up to 30% of the municipal solid waste stream.  In addition, composting can provide excellent fertilizer for gardens, yards, and other plants.  Adding compost to your garden will increase drainage and provide a continuous source of major and minor nutrients required for plant health. 

Butler County Soil and Water Conservation District sells compost bins for a reduced price.  (513) 887-3720

How to Compost

Compost Ingredients

Types of Bins

How to compost

Composting is a natural process and can occur with minimal work.  Simply tossing grass clippings, brush, and kitchen waste in a pile will produce compost in the pile within a year or two.  However, if you would like to see faster results, using a compost bin or turning the pile every so often will speed up the process.  Compost needs greens (grass clippings, weeds, coffee grounds and other kitchen waste) browns (wood chips, leaves, straw, dead leaves, cardboard, paper) oxygen (turn the pile every few days) and water (don't let it dry out, but typically it will remain moist enough).  If turned every few days, you can produce quality compost in 3-4 weeks.

Strive to maintain a 3:1 ratio of brown to green materials in the pile.  A pile that doesn't heat up within 24 hours (you can see steam rising from the pile) needs more green material and a pile that develops an ammonia smell needs more brown material.  The pile should only be damp, it should not be soaking wet.  Animals will typically stay away if there is no meat or dairy products in the pile. 

Compost Ingredients

What to use:

Materials to Compost
Browns = High CarbonGreens = High Nitrogen
Ashes, woodAlfalfa
Cardboard, shreddedClover
Corn stalksCoffee grounds
Fruit wasteFood waste
LeavesGarden waste
Newspaper, shreddedGrass clippings
Peanut shellsHay
Peat mossHedge clippings
Pine needlesHops, used
Stems and twigsSeaweed
StrawVegetable scraps
Vegetable stalksWeeds*
*Avoid weeds that have gone to seed, as seeds may survive all but the hottest compost piles.

What not to use:

Coal ash, colored paper, diseased plants, inorganic material, meat, bones, fats, dairy, pet droppings, and synthetic chemicals.

Types of Bins

It is not necessary to have a bin, however it can make it easier to turn the pile, keep the pile manageable, and remove finished compost.  Clermont County typically has annual compost bin sales (see above).  You can also make your own bin out of wood or fencing and posts.   Other types of bins include: rolling bins, tumblers, enclosed bins, and worm bins.  To learn more, check out this article on the different types of composting bins.

USEPA's Composting at Home website

describes environmental benefits of composting

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