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:
- REDUCE WASTE: Composting reduces the amount of re-usable material sent to landfills or incinerators.
- 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.
- 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.
- HEALTHIER SOIL: Compost can help support beneficial soil microbes. And healthier soil = healthier plants.
- 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, we periodically offer composting and vermicomposting workshops. Check our list of upcoming classes, workshops, & events at: http://bitly.com/eventbritepasco
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.”
by Frank Galdo