Composting! April 3, 2014 Email From Garbage To Your Garden! Compost is the single most important supplement you can give your garden soil. With compost, you are creating rich humus for your lawn and garden. This adds nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil. Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can and offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers. Composting is free, good for the environment, and explained by this simple formula: Air + Water + Carbon + Nitrogen = Compost Air. Like most living things, the bacteria that decompose organic matter, and the other creatures that make up the compost ecosystem, need air. Compost piles need spaces for air to flow. Occasionally turning your pile moves new material into the center, and helps improve airflow into the pile. Water. Compost microbes also need the right amount of water. Too much moisture reduces airflow, causes temperatures to fall, and can make the pile smell; too little water slows decomposition and prevents the pile from heating. Carbon ingredients. The microbes that break down organic matter use carbon as an energy source. The most common high-carbon ingredients are leaves, straw, and corn stalks. These ingredients are called browns. Nitrogen ingredients. Microbes need nitrogen for the proteins that build their tiny bodies. Ingredients high in nitrogen are generally green, moist plant matter, such as leaves, or an animal by-product, such as manure. These ingredients are called greens. Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio The secret to a healthy compost pile is to maintain a working balance between these two elements. A healthy compost pile should have much more carbon than nitrogen. A simple rule of thumb is to use two-thirds brown and one-third green materials. If in doubt, add more carbon! Once your compost pile is established, add new materials by mixing them in. Mixing, or turning, the compost pile is key to aerating the composting materials and speeding the process to completion. A new composting bin is now available through the City of Torrance Public Works Department The Envirocycle mini composting bin is great for small areas like patios. Comes fully assembled Spins in place on its own base for aeration. Made with a high percentage of Post-Consumer and Post-Industrial recycled plastic (BPA Free). Go to Envirocycle.com for more information about the bin. To purchase ($70 each, Torrance residents only, cash or check only), contact Public Works at 310-781-6900 5 responses to “Composting!” What happens to the yard waste that we put in the green trash bins? Is the city making compost with that? Is the resulting compost available for us to use in our gardens? Reply Hi Curtis! Torrance has free mulch available to residents at Lago Seco Park, which is made from composting the city’s yard waste. There’s more information on composting at the city’s website: http://www.torranceca.gov/9216.htm Reply Pingback: Simple Tips for a Green Thanksgiving | KJ Services Environmental Consulting I have bags that are labeled as “compostable in industrial facilities. Check locally, as these do not exist in many communities. Not suitable for backyard composting.” Does Torrance have an industrial facility that will compost this type of trash? Reply Hi Rosa, Unfortunately, Torrance does not have a facility for these types of bags. In general, you should always place green waste and compost in bins without bags. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment * Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.