What Is Compost and Why Is It So Beneficial for Your Lawn?

compost in new jersey

Creating compost at home using your own recycled materials creates a material that is a nutrient-rich addition to any lawn or garden. By adding compost to your lawn, you give back to the environment and aid in your soil’s ability to retain water and essential nutrients for a more vibrant and healthy lawn. Compost consists of organic materials, such as leaves and grass, that are blended and run through a natural process using heat to filter out impurities and ensure that any dormant seeds have been killed.

There are many benefits to learning how to compost. Some include:

  • Enhancing the soil profile while building the seed bank in your lawn.
  • Encouraging healthy and disease-resistant turf
  • Improving soil structure and quality
  • Increasing water holding capacity
  • Helps sandy soils retain water that normally runs through.

How To Make Compost?

Gather Your Materials

First, start by designating a separate bin in your kitchen for food scraps and make sure it has a lid. When the bin is full, take it out to your compost bin. You want a good balance of green and brown materials for the best results. “Green” materials are high in nitrogen, while “brown” materials are rich in carbon. We have provided a list of “green” and “brown” materials to help you out.

Green Materials

  • Grass clippings
  • Weeds
  • Manure
  • Vegetable and fruit scraps
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Teabags

Brown Materials

  • Dead leaves
  • Newspaper
  • Corn stalks
  • Hay or straw
  • Cardboard
  • Sawdust
  • Dry grass clippings

What You Can Not Compost?

Although there are many things that you can compost, there are some things you should never compost.

  • Diseased plants
  • Meat, fat, or bones
  • Pine needles or oak leaves
  • Plants treated with pesticides
  • Grease or oil
  • Animal carcasses
  • Human and pet waste
  • Coal or wood ashes

How to choose a Compost Bin?

A compost bin has no set requirements other than being able to contain a large amount of organic waste. They can be big or small, open to the air, or closed with a lid. Many gardeners prefer a compost tumbler, which makes it easier to rotate the contents. It all depends on how much you want to spend, where you live, and how much waste you produce. Compost bins can be purchased at any garden center, but there are also many DIY compost bins if you’re up for a project.

A traditional compost bin consists of a bin with a lid. This can be as simple as a plastic garbage can (don’t use metal, or it will rust). Drill dozens of holes along the bin’s sides to allow air and insects to enter and exit. Then, the only thing left to do is start adding compost and mixing it occasionally.

What is Open-Air Composting?

Open-air composting sites are only suitable for those with enough land where the smell won’t offend our neighbors. Open-air composting has the advantage of containing large amounts of compost, and exposure to the elements allows for the decomposition process to happen much faster. This method is more suitable for farms that produce large quantities of organic waste.

After you have chosen a bin and have added your first materials to it, it’s time to let nature take its course. Bacteria, fungi, worms, and insects will help decompose the material in your compost pile over time. To make sure your little helpers are getting what they need and speed up the process, stir the compost bin’s contents to allow air and water to enter. As you would guess, in the winter, the composting process slows to a standstill, but it will pick up again in the spring.

When is the compost ready to harvest?

When the bin contents have broken down, resemble dark brown dirt, and have an earthy smell, use a milk crate to sift out any large remaining chunks and return them to the compost bin. The rest is fresh, free compost for you to put in your garden, flower beds, or flower pots.

While composting provides nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden and lawn, it’s just one step of many to achieving a thriving yard. Tap into the expertise of Harvest Lawn Care. From soil testing and lime applications to our multi-step lawn care program, the professionals at Harvest Lawn Care have years of training and industry knowledge to offer. We will have your turf thriving in no time.

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