When you have bags of grass and leaves, don't throw them away. Its never too late to start a compost pile with these goodies.
Many people bag their grass clippings because they like to see their lawn neat and tidy. But your lawn can use this rich source of nitrogen. Instead of bagging those clippings, scientists at Michigan State University say you should mulch them back into your lawn to keep it well-fed.
But if you would rather fill up a few garbage bags of nitrogen each week, you may as well get some use out of it in your compost pile.
Green grass isn't the only ingredient for compost. Matter of fact, if your pile only contains grass, it can create a horrible stench in the back yard, rather than an undetectable pile of compost. Your compost pile needs an equal amount of yard waste that contain carbon, like dried leaves, straw and even shredded newspaper. Usually, materials containing carbon are brown.
If you have veggie scraps, apple cores, egg shells, coffee grounds, you have some nice ingredients to add to a back yard compost pile. Never add bones or meat to the compost pile or you will invite unwanted guests to your backyard.
You may want to conceal the messy pile. You can buy fancy turning bins that make the job a lot faster and easier. But low-tech piles that are turned with a pitchfork or shovel work well too. Before you start dumping things in a big pile, think about where you will be able to use the compost and where you do your yard work.
Some people start one pile in the winter and spring and let it cook. Winter and spring yard waste can be tossed on a compost pile, turned a few times and sprinkled with water through the summer and become dark brown compost by fall. Then, start another pile in the early summer to be used the following early spring. I like to make five or six smaller compost piles that are tucked behind some of the big shrubs in my landscape.
Just dig a hole in an area that won't damage any roots and start filling it half way with grass, the other half with leaves, sprinkle on a few shakes of slow release fertilizer and give it a toss. You can add to the hidden piles as you do some of your yard chores. And as they age, you will have a nice pile of gourmet food for those plants.
Contact Kelly Heidbreder at email@example.com.