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Compost
编辑:University of Rhode Island   出处:University of Rhode Island   时间:2011-1-13 14:36:20

What is Composting?

Composting is a controlled process of decomposition of organic material. By composting, you are creating conditions which speed up the natural process of decomposition. It's easy because the real work is done by soil organisms, baceteria, mold fungi, beetles, centipedes and earthworms, to name a few. These "helpers" decompose complex organic compounds into simpler substances, making a rich, organic soil-like material called humus.

Benefits of Composting:

Composting is a convenient, beneficial and inexpensive way to handle your organic waste. Composting reduces the volume of garbage requiring disposal and enriches the soil. Using compost adds essential nutrients, improves soil structure and increases moisture and nutrient retention in the soil.

What Materials May Be Composted?

Many types of organic materials can be used for composting--sod, grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, weeds, manure, chopped corncobs, corn stalks, sawdust, shredded newspaper, wood ashes, hedge clippings and various plant refuse from the garden. Twigs should not be used because they decompose very slowly. Try not to use diseased plants from the flower or vegetable garden for composting if the compost is to be returned and incorporated into the garden eventually. Although some diseases are killed by heating during compost formation, many are not affected and some of these disease organisms may be returned to the garden with the compost. If diseases have not been a problem, this precaution may not be necessary. Most garbage may also be used in the compost pile, with the exception of grease, fat, meat scraps and bones. These may attract dogs or other animals and may develop an odor during decomposition. Fats break down slowly and greatly increase the time require before the compost can be used.

Compost Bins:

First, you must set up an outside area or "bin" for your compost pile. The type of compost system you use will depend on how quickly you want the material to decompose, how much material you can reasonably compost and use, and the amount of space and time you have. Composting is not difficult once you set up and get into the habit of composting. You can simply rake your ingredients into a mound. Compost bins are not necessary to make good compost, but they can help. If compost pilse are not adequately contained, decomposition will not proceed quickly and your pile may invite unwanted pests. There are many types of containers which are easy to build. You can make a simple box or circular-shaped enclosure using chicken wire, scrap wood, hardware cloth, wooden pallets, bricks, concrete blocks or recycled lumber. You can also use a metal or plastic bucket or trash can, drilling 1/4 inch holes to increase the flow of air and moisture. If you wish to purchase a compost bin, they are commercially available at most hardware stores in either metal or plastic and do not require a large investment.

Making a Compost Pile:

* Find a spot with good drainage away from direct sunlight.

* Start with a layer of coarse material such as straw, leaves or hay.

* Add a layer of dry grass clippings and leaves (preferably chopped), mixed with kitchen waste such as egg shells, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds or tea bags.

* Cover with a one-inch layer of soil and enough water so the soil is as moist as a damp sponge.

Add more materials as they become available, taking care not to make any one layer of the same type of material thicker than six inches. Turn the mixture on a regular basis (weekly or bi-weekly) to provide air space. You can also poke the mixture to create pores. Keep the pile moist but not soggy. Your compost pile will naturally heat up and decrease in volume as the material inside decomposes. Once the pile is established, you may want to add food scraps in the center of the pile, folding the scraps down and to the inside. When the material inside turns dark brown and crumbly, it is ready for use. Remove the material from the bottom of the pile. If you wish, screen the compost to remove items not totally decompose and return these items to the pile to complete decomposition.

How to Use Compost:

When the composted materials look like rich, brown soil, it is ready to use. Apply 1/2 to 3 inches of finished compost and mix it in with the top four inches of soil about one month before planting. Compost can also be applied as a top dressing in the garden throughout the summer. Compost is excellent for reseeding lawns, and it can be spread in a 1/4 inch layer over the entire lawn to rejuvenate the turf. To make potting soil, mix equal parts compost, sand and loam.

 


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