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MAKING THE MOST OF
YOUR COMPOST PILE

There are many creatures or organisms that help nature prevent wastes. These organisms help the process of rotting or decomposing by ingesting things that have died, such as fallen leaves, dead plants and dead animals. If you examine a sample of soil with a magnifying glass, you will see some creatures that help prevent wastes. They may be easy-to-recognize creatures such as centipedes or earthworms.

We can help nature in the process of breaking down what otherwise would have been wastes. We can learn how to compost by setting up a project that helps to create good crumbly soil from pieces of leaves and twigs, grass, sawdust, weeds and certain left-over foods.

You may also want to add animal waste to your compost bin. If you have pets such as rabbits or guinea pigs, their waste manure can provide the necessary nitrogen to start breaking down the leaves and weeds.

It's also important to have lots of air circulating in your compost pile. When you put the leaves, grass and other things in, don't push them down. Layer them in a criss-cross way so plenty of air with oxygen can get to every part. The oxygen will be needed to help the pile decompose.

You can practice composting with a small classroom or home project, even in your kitchen. You will have to keep turning it. When it becomes rotten and is ready to provide soil, you can add it to house plants or take it outdoors.

You can also make your own compost pole outdoors, in a garden or backyard. One easy way is to use chicken wire, which you can buy cheaply at a hardware store. The chicken wire can be made into a round tube and stuck into the ground. Since there are so many holes, there is plenty of air circulating to help break down the materials inside. As the compost is created, you can move the chicken wire tube around and capture the new soil at the bottom.

You can also compost with old plastic milk crates, stacked one on top of the other. Add the new leaves and other materials to the top crate and leave them outside. Since the crates have many openings, air and water can easily enter the compost. The newly created soil falls from the top into the bottom crate, where you can remove it and add it to your garden or backyard.


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