Backyard Compost Bins
Earth Machine Compost Bins are available for purchase at all 3 Transfer Stations as well as at the DPW facility at 159 Camelot Drive for $40.00 each.
The Earth Machine is simple to use, durable and rodent resistant. It has an aerated base, locking lid, and locking harvest door. Dimensions are 33" in diameter, 33" high and 10.5 cubic foot volume.
What is compost?
Compost is decomposed organic material such as yard waste and kitchen scraps. In nature, decomposition of organic material is accomplished by microorganisms (bacteria, molds, fungi), earthworms and insects. Composting provides the ideal conditions that speed up the natural processes. Compost can be used as a soil amendment to improve soil texture and nutrient content, or as a substitute for chemical fertilizers.
Organic waste is too valuable to trash! Disposal of organic waste can be costly.
Leaves, yard trimmings, kitchen scraps and soiled paper make up nearly half of all household wastes. In addition to being costly, disposal of organic material causes problems at landfills and incinerators. This material is actually a valuable resource which, through composting, can easily be converted to nutrient-rich humus and used to dramatically improve soil quality. Composting is a simple process available to everyone, with or without a backyard.
Home composting is the least expensive, most rewarding and environmentally sound method of managing the organic component of our waste stream.
How to compost:
COMPOSTING IS EASY!
To make compost, just follow these simple steps:
1. Add three parts "browns"…
Fall leaves, straw, saltmarsh hay, shredded paper and cardboard (newspaper, paper towels, paper plates, paper bags) chipped brush, sawdust, pine needles (pine needles shouldn't make up more than 10% of total material in pile … and one part "greens" grass clippings, weeds (not laden with seeds) vegetable and fruit wastes, seaweed, eggshells, coffee grounds and
filters, tea bags, manure (horse, cow, rabbit, chicken, goat, gerbil, etc)
For best results and to keep out odors and pests
DO NOT ADD:
-Meat, bones, fat, grease, oils
-Cooked foods with sauces or butter
-Dog and cat manure
-Weeds gone to seed
-Weeds that spread by roots and runners (vines)
2. Mix or layer material after every 12" or so add a few shovelfuls of rich soil or compost
3. Keep it damp and aerated wait a few months and there it is compost - black gold!
Click HERE for a printable version of the above table.
Here are some additional tips:
Choose a convenient, shady location for your pile.
Start with a layer of woody, bulky material such as cornstalks or small sticks to allow air passages in the base of the pile. If you are using a compost bin with a floor, start with a 1-3" layer of soil or compost on the bottom.
Alternate layers of high nitrogen materials with high carbon materials, with a sprinkling of soil in between. The thickness of the layers is not critical, but shouldn't be more than about 6" each.
Add water after you add each layer, if necessary.
If composting kitchen scraps, bury them in the center layers of the pile.
The temperature should go up to about 130 degrees F in a few days. It should feel warm inside. If it starts to cool down, turn it to introduce a fresh supply of oxygen.
Additional turning accelerates the process, but is optional.
Indoor Composting with Worms:
If you don't have a backyard but wish to compost your kitchen scraps, try vermicomposting. This is a method of composting using red worms, also called manure worms. It can be done indoors, in a basement, heated garage or other convenient location that doesn't freeze. Red worms eat approximately their own weight each day; a pound of worms will eat a pound of organic material. That's a tough ratio to beat for efficiency, and luckily, maintaining a worm bin is relatively easy. It's a compact, convenient and odorless method of composting, and the end-product is a very fertile form of compost called worm castings. To find out how to set up a worm bin, go to the MassDEP site on vermicomposting.
Compost is ready to use when it is dark brown, crumbly and earthy-smelling and you can no longer recognize the original material. Apply a 3" layer of compost to the soil you want to improve and mix it in. It is best to incorporate the compost about a month before planting seeds. When transplanting seedlings or established plants, add a few handfuls of compost to the hole and mix with soil when backfilling. During the summer, compost can be used as a side-dressing (by mixing it into the soil next to plants). In the fall, partially composted material can be tilled under, where it will break down over the winter.