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Written By Brenda Ruzycki, Special to QMI

One can easily turn fallen leaves into a valuable soil enhancement that offers long term benefits for your property.

This process is called composting which is a natural, biological process that turns lawn cuttings and garden debris into a soil-like material called humus.

One does not need a container to get started as leaves will decompose even while sitting in a pile.

The advantage to a compost bin is that it will take up less space, be more manageable to maintain and will be far more attractive in the yard.

They come in various designs and are made of different materials such as wood, chicken wire or recycled plastic. A container will also keep the animals out.

Check out the City of Edmonton website at www.edmonton.ca and search composting. This is an excellent resource on everything you need to know about the topic.

Be sure to check out the step by step instructions for building your own compost bins. If you are interested in taking courses on composting, they also offer those too.

The website will advise you to begin by choosing a location which is convenient, level, well-drained and sunny. It will also tell you to place a thin laver of topsoil on the bottom.

This is needed to help the whole process get started. There are micro organisms in the topsoil which are needed to break down the organic material.

Composting is a natural, biological process that breaks down the materials that you add without having to add any chemical starter or activator.

Yard waste such as grass clippings, fallen leaves, dead foliage from flowers and vegetables and small twigs that are cut up can be added to your compost bin.

Straw, hay and peat moss are also beneficial to add. Kitchen waste such as fruit, vegetable peelings, tea bags and coffee grounds are all safe to add year round.

There are materials that one should not add to the compost bin. From the household waste category, do not add meat, fish, bones, fatty foods, cheese, dairy products or pet litter.

From the garden do not add weeds with seed heads or weeds with roots such as quack grass, noxious weeds or diseased plants.

When spring arrives, and as the temperatures rise, composting of the fall garden wastes will begin. Add alternate layers of different materials such as dry leaves and kitchen waste as often as you can. When adding new material, be sure to mix it into the top layer. Turn the pile weekly and allow it to heat up. This means that the micro organisms are working. Keep an eye on the moisture level. If it is too moist add a layer of drier material such as straw or peat moss. If it is too dry, add water.

When the compost is ready it will be dark brown in color, crumbly and lightweight. It will have an earthy odour. Adding compost to garden soil is well worth the exercise. It will keep the soil loose, help retain moisture and add nutrients back into the soil.

Brenda Ruzycki is a landscape architectural technologist with the Landscape Division at Focus Corporation. Brenda can be reached at brenda.ruzycki@focus.ca.

resource: http://www.edmontonsun.com/homes/exteriors/2010/10/16/15717366.html


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Blog

Written By Brenda Ruzycki, Special to QMI

One can easily turn fallen leaves into a valuable soil enhancement that offers long term benefits for your property.

This process is called composting which is a natural, biological process that turns lawn cuttings and garden debris into a soil-like material called humus.

One does not need a container to get started as leaves will decompose even while sitting in a pile.

The advantage to a compost bin is that it will take up less space, be more manageable to maintain and will be far more attractive in the yard.

They come in various designs and are made of different materials such as wood, chicken wire or recycled plastic. A container will also keep the animals out.

Check out the City of Edmonton website at www.edmonton.ca and search composting. This is an excellent resource on everything you need to know about the topic.

Be sure to check out the step by step instructions for building your own compost bins. If you are interested in taking courses on composting, they also offer those too.

The website will advise you to begin by choosing a location which is convenient, level, well-drained and sunny. It will also tell you to place a thin laver of topsoil on the bottom.

This is needed to help the whole process get started. There are micro organisms in the topsoil which are needed to break down the organic material.

Composting is a natural, biological process that breaks down the materials that you add without having to add any chemical starter or activator.

Yard waste such as grass clippings, fallen leaves, dead foliage from flowers and vegetables and small twigs that are cut up can be added to your compost bin.

Straw, hay and peat moss are also beneficial to add. Kitchen waste such as fruit, vegetable peelings, tea bags and coffee grounds are all safe to add year round.

There are materials that one should not add to the compost bin. From the household waste category, do not add meat, fish, bones, fatty foods, cheese, dairy products or pet litter.

From the garden do not add weeds with seed heads or weeds with roots such as quack grass, noxious weeds or diseased plants.

When spring arrives, and as the temperatures rise, composting of the fall garden wastes will begin. Add alternate layers of different materials such as dry leaves and kitchen waste as often as you can. When adding new material, be sure to mix it into the top layer. Turn the pile weekly and allow it to heat up. This means that the micro organisms are working. Keep an eye on the moisture level. If it is too moist add a layer of drier material such as straw or peat moss. If it is too dry, add water.

When the compost is ready it will be dark brown in color, crumbly and lightweight. It will have an earthy odour. Adding compost to garden soil is well worth the exercise. It will keep the soil loose, help retain moisture and add nutrients back into the soil.

Brenda Ruzycki is a landscape architectural technologist with the Landscape Division at Focus Corporation. Brenda can be reached at brenda.ruzycki@focus.ca.

resource: http://www.edmontonsun.com/homes/exteriors/2010/10/16/15717366.html


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