Compost your yard waste
Turn yard waste into a material that can enrich your soil.
May 4, 2010 - Author: Bob Bricault, Michigan State University Extension
Whether you have heavy clay soil or very sandy soil, compost can help with nutrient availability, moisture retention and provide clay with better drainage. Actually the material we add to soils from composting is called “humus”. Humus is the finished product from composting that resist breaking down further. The unique thing about humus is that it helps out with very different extremes in soils. The composting process can be as simple as piling garden debris and letting it breakdown over a couple seasons or it can be done in a couple months by turning the pile when it cools and keeping it moist which helps speed up the process.
Regardless of the compost method you use, it will produce an amendment that can be beneficial to your soil. Humus can be used in a number of ways: it can be worked into the top 4 inches of garden soil before planting, it can be used as mulch around plants, and it can be mixed in with potting soil for growing house plants. Many gardeners like to make a compost tea from it by placing it in a permeable sack and placing it in a barrel of water to seep. The “tea” from this process can be used to water plants.
The big “Don’ts” with composting are to avoid using any meats, foods cooked in oils, waste from cats and dogs, diseased plants and weed seeds. Michigan State University Extension Educator Bob Tritten gives you a great review of composting in three videos on YouTube. Visit the following site for the first video on basic composting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDtkIXxvhQE&feature=related. See the remaining videos at: http://migarden.msu.edu/migarden/soil