Backyard Composting

By Duane Friend

Many people attempt composting, but to get a higher quality product, it takes some management.

Materials needed for composting must contain carbon, nitrogen and microorganisms. Good carbon sources include leaves, straw and sawdust. Sources of nitrogen can come from cow and horse manure, vegetable scraps and green plants. Adding garden soil to the compost mix provides the microbes needed to get things going.

To get a good ratio of carbon and nitrogen, materials can be layered. Start with a 6- to 8-inch layer of brown materials, such as leaves or straw. Place a 1- or 2-inch layer of green materials on top of this, then add a inch layer of garden soil. Continue this layering until reach the top of your bin, or run out of materials. Mix the materials together, and let nature begin to work its magic!

If you would like to know more about composting, University of Illinois Extension will be conducting a composting class on October 24, 6 to 8 p.m, in Beardstown at the Lincoln Land Community College building, 109 White Pine Lane (just north of the JBS pork facility). The course will provide in depth information on creating quality compost for your garden or landscape. Presentations will include the composting process, composting materials, containers, managing the compost process and vermicomposting.

To register for the class, you can either call the U of I Extension office at 217-243-7424, or you can register online at .
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About the author

Duane is an Educator with University of Illinois Extension in the Calhoun/Cass/Greene/Morgan/Scott unit.

View all articles by Duane Friend

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