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Do You Compost?

Last year in Pasco County, food scraps, yard waste, and newspaper made up about 25% of the material thrown in the garbage. That’s a lot of wasted waste, because by composting, most of that “trash” could have easily been transformed into “black gold!”

Q: What is compost?

A: Compost is a rich, dark, crumbly soil-like material made from broken-down organic material (think yard waste, food scraps, eggshells, etc.)

 

Q: Why make compost?

A: There’s a lot of great reasons to make compost. Here’s just a few:

  1. REDUCE WASTE: Composting reduces the amount of re-usable material sent to landfills or incinerators.
  2. SAVE WATER & REDUCE FERTILIZER RUNOFF: Compost is GREAT for your garden! Here in central Florida, our soil is often very sandy. Adding compost helps to hold moisture and nutrients longer around your plants’ root zone.
  3. HEALTHIER PLANTS: Many plants grown in our sandy soils struggle with nematodes. (Click to learn more about nematodes.) Adding organic matter can help plants cope with nematode infestations.
  4. HEALTHIER SOIL: Compost can help support beneficial soil microbes. And healthier soil = healthier plants.
  5. SAVE MONEY: Why pay for bags of compost when you can make it out of stuff you were going to haul out to the trash anyway?

 

Q: What should I compost?

A: Your compost pile should include a mixture of “browns” and “greens”

  • “Browns” = Dry leaves / dry grass clippings / small sticks / pine needles / newspaper, etc.)
  • “Greens” = Food scraps (fruits / vegetables / grains / eggshells, coffee grounds, etc.)

Getting a good balance is key. Too many “browns,” and your compost won’t properly decompose. Too many “greens,” and your compost can get really stinky & gross. (A smelly pile is one of the most common reasons that compost “newbies” give up.)

Q: Is there anything that I shouldn’t compost?

A: Some items shouldn’t be added to a home compost pile. These include meat scraps, dairy products, fats, oils, greases, pet waste…

 

Q: How do I make compost?

A: There are many ways to make compost. From simple bins, to rotating tumblers, to indoor “worm farms,” there’s an option for anyone! Check out: http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/sarasota/natural-resources/waste-reduction/composting/ for some detailed info. Start transforming those coffee grounds and sad, un-eaten salad greens into rich compost for the garden!

 

Prefer a hands-on learning experience?

If you’re in the Pasco County area, you can sign up to participate in the “Compost Happens” workshop at Pasco County’s annual Earth Day Celebration. Learn more & register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/4-28-18-earth-day-compost-happens-workshop-tickets-44081869057

Not in Pasco County? No problem. UF/IFAS has local Extensions throughout the state! Click to find your local office!

UF/IFAS Extension serves as a source of non-biased, research-based information for the residents, businesses, and communities of Florida, providing educational materials and programs for adults and youth. We proudly “provide solutions for your life.”

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