Composting Do’s and Don’ts in a Dog Friendly Garden
Compost is the single most important supplement you can give your garden soil. Making your own rich compost will give you peace of mind and will help you create a naturally gorgeous landscape and a bountiful garden full of fruits and vegetables.
Composting is a simple way to add nutrient-rich humus which fuels plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil. It’s also free, easy to make, and good for the environment. Keeping your pets out of harm’s way by creating your own all natural, all purpose fertilizer just makes good sense …
Five Benefits of Composting:
1. Soil Conditioner – With compost, you are creating rich humus for lawn and garden. This adds nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil.
2. Recycles Kitchen and Yard Waste – Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can.
3. Introduces Beneficial Organisms to the Soil – Microscopic organisms in compost help aerate the soil, break down organic material for plant use, and ward off plant disease.
4. Protect Your Dog / Good for the Environment – Composting offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers for a dog friendly yard.
5. Reduces Landfill Waste – Most landfills are quickly filling up; many have already closed down. One-third of landfill waste is made up of compostable materials.
The key to preventing wild vermin and the pungent odors that attract them is to keep certain items out of your compost pile As they decay, the items listed below offer temptation for critters such as coyotes, opossums, raccoons and skunks …
Most of the modern composters on the market have secure lids to prevent uninvited guests from exploring your compost pile. I especially like the “toss-it-in-and-forget-it” style composters. Easy to use / minimal effort …
Do NOT Compost:
* meat, bones or fish scraps
* fats and cooking oils
* cooked fruits and vegetables
* manure from meat-eating animals (dogs & cats)
A mix of “browns” (carbon) with “greens” (nitrogen)
Carbon / Browns:
* shrub prunings
* pine needles
* corncobs and stalks
* torn newspaper
* tree bark
* wood chips or sawdust
Nitrogen / Greens:
* fruit and veggie scraps
* grass clippings
* coffee grounds
* lawn and garden weeds
* flower cuttings
* seaweed and kelp
* chicken manure
* tea leaves
* hair (animal or human)
With yard and garden wastes, different composting materials will decompose at different rates but they will all break down eventually. If you want to speed up the composting process, chop the larger material into smaller pieces. Leaves and grass clippings are also excellent for compost, but should be sprinkled into the bin with other materials, or put on in thin layers. Otherwise they will mat together and take longer to compost …
A healthy compost pile should have much more carbon than nitrogen additives. An easy rule of thumb is to use one-third green to two-thirds brown materials. This allows oxygen to penetrate and nourish the organisms that reside there. Too much nitrogen makes for a heavy, smelly, slowly decomposing mass. Good composting hygiene means covering fresh nitrogen-rich material, which can release odors if exposed to open air, with carbon-rich material, which often exudes a fresh, wonderful smell. When in doubt, add more carbon!