Maricopa County Cooperative Extension Home Horticulture:
Gardening & Landscaping in the Low Desert
Backyard composting can be as simple as a worm bin on your patio or as
complex as an eight bin turning system with myriads of different bins and
piles in between. Composting only works when you choose the system
that will work for you. The first and foremost thing to consider is the
time that you have and the materials that you have on hand or or willing
to go out in search of and bring back to utilize in your composting
system. Lets face it most of us do not have much time these days to
devote to new endeavors. Once you get a system for composting in place
though it will not take much to keep it going and the benefits will
simply amaze you.
One of the least expensive composting bins are recycled trash containers that you can get through the Solid Waste Division of most local cities. Gardening catalogs will have at least one and often times several types of composting bins for sale. You can also choose to make one out of wooden pallets or of chicken wire and stakes, or simply have a free standing pile.
Once you choose the bin for your composting system it is a simple matter of adding one part green material (nitrogen) such as kitchen waste, cut winter rye grass, manure (not dog or cat), or fresh garden weeds or other fresh garden residue to three parts brown material (carbon) such as leaves, straw, chipped or shredded branches, wood shavings. Both types of material should be as small pieces as possible and mixed thoroughly. You need to add enough water so that when you take a handful of this mixed material you will get a few drops of water when you squeeze. The smaller the pieces and the more often you turn the pile (not more than 3 times a week) the faster you will have finished compost.
Some benefits of compost are
If you wish to learn more about the Art of Composting the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension and the Organic Product Committee of the Arizona Recycling Association hold an annual Master Composter Class. Please call the Extension Office (602) 470-8086 for details.
Back Yard Composting in the Home Garden in the Low Desertvisitors since March 6, 1999