portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting oregon & cascadia

alternative media | arts and culture

You are now ready to start helping the environment

You are now ready to start helping the environment
Home composting
Mike Lehman
Working to be Eco friendly


Enclosed Composting
For small-scale apartment composting, enclosed Bins are an option. The least expensive method is to build one yourself from a hallway closet in your apartment. Simply drill 1.5-cm aeration holes in rows at roughly 15-cm intervals around the closet. Line the closet with large trash bags or plastic sheets from the hardware store, block the lower part of the door with 1"by 12" pine boards(you can scavenge these from your fence or from a dumpster. Stack them to about three feet high. That's about right.
Fill the prepared closet with a mixture of high-carbon and high-nitrogen materials. Stir the contents occasionally to avoid anaerobic pockets and to speed up the composting process.



What to Compost
Material Carbon/Nitrogen Info
table scraps Nitrogen add with dry carbon items
fruit & vegetable scraps Nitrogen add with dry carbon items
eggshells neutral best when crushed
leaves Carbon leaves break down faster when shredded
grass clippings Nitrogen add in thin layers so they don't mat into clumps
garden plants -- use disease-free plants only
lawn & garden weeds Nitrogen only use weeds which have not gone to seed
shrub prunings Carbon woody prunings are slow to break down
straw or hay Carbon straw is best; hay (with seeds) is less ideal
green comfrey leaves Nitrogen excellent compost 'activator'
pine needles Carbon acidic; use in moderate amounts
flowers, cuttings Nitrogen chop up any long woody stems
seaweed and kelp Nitrogen rinse first; good source for trace minerals
wood ash Carbon only use ash from clean materials; sprinkle lightly
chicken manure Nitrogen excellent compost 'activator'
coffee grounds Nitrogen filters may also be included
tea leaves Nitrogen loose or in bags
newspaper Carbon avoid using glossy paper and colored inks
shredded paper Carbon avoid using glossy paper and colored inks
cardboard Carbon shred material to avoid matting
corn cobs, stalks Carbon slow to decompose; best if chopped up
dryer lint Carbon best if from natural fibers
sawdust Carbon high carbon levels; add in layers to avoid clumping
wood chips Carbon high carbon levels; use sparingly



~ Activate your compost. 'Activators' can be added to your compost to help kick-start the process and speed up composting. Common compost activator materials are: comfrey leaves, grass clippings, young weeds, well-rotted chicken manure. Mix in well and add one half gallon of water (don't worry it gets absorbed into the mix

You are now ready to start helping the environment, in just four to six weeks your compost will be ready to take to your local Park or vacant lot to revive the top soil layer and help the earth recover

Good luck in your new green hobby