Canadian County OSU Extension Service

Composting

News Release

Extension Educator, Horticulture/4-H Youth Development                                

April 24, 2008

Canadian County OSU Extension Office
Phone:  405-262-0155, Fax: 405-262-2267
E-mail:  casey.sharber@okstate.edu

The Vine
By Casey Sharber

Garden Lasagna

It is well known that people get so many great nutrients from their fruit and vegetables, but think about the amount of fruits and vegetables that go to waste after we have made our salads or meals. 

Think about the scraps leftover.  What about the carrot tops, outer layers of lettuce that we pull off, the apple cores, and the fruit peels?  Although these plant parts may not be of any edible use to us, but that does not mean that they don’t have any use at all.

Instead of throwing away these table scraps and so many other items.  We can compost them and put the nutrients back into the soil to again be taken up by the garden plants. 

So often when people think of composting they think it is a large, laborious operation.  This does not have to be the case.  It can be as simple as you want to make it. 

It can be a matter of simple putting your organic table scraps such as egg shells and fruits & veggie scrapes directly in your garden or actually composting them in a compost pile. When adding them directly in to the garden it is often best to bury them to prevent rodents and varmints from seeking them out.

This direct planting method will not provide the plant with instant nutrients, but over time as the organic matter breaks down it will add to your garden soil.

The composting process can be more complicated also.  If you want to break down your plant material and make quality compost faster, then you will need a designated area to layer your compost pile. You will want to layer you green material, which includes the fruit & vegetable scrapes and grass clippings, with the brown material, such as wood shavings.  The green material puts nitrogen into the compost which breaks down the brown carbon material. 

In addition to this, you will add some soil which has natural bacteria and fertilizer to initiate the composting process.

It is important to add a little water to your compost also, in order to “cook” the compost pile. Having a small amount of water will create steam inside of the pile and will heat it up so that the decomposition process is faster. 

Until next time - STOP, LOOK, and ENJOY!

~ Casey

Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments cooperating. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability or status as a veteran and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  The information given herein is for educational purposes only.  References made to commercial products or trade names are with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.

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