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Composting in Houston? Here are dos and don'ts you should follow

Compost nurtures your garden soil and it comes at no extra cost.

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HOUSTON – Composting at home is a great way to save money and help plants grow.

You can use material you have available at your place to enrich your lawn, flower beds or veggie garden and it doesn’t necessarily have to be just all kitchen scraps.

“If you have a small space, I would definitely recommend a compost tumbler, or something like that. If you have a yard, and you can actually put a pile of decomposing stuff on the ground, then just go directly on the ground. If you have a yard that is out of the way...you can start building your compost pretty easily,” said Corey McMullen, from Urban Organics, who shared a list of materials he suggests adding to your compost pile to ensure success.

SOURCES FOR COMPOST

1.    Carbon (“Browns”)
2.    Nitrogen (“Greens”)
3.    Oxygen
4.    Water

According to McMullen, creating the proper balance of these source is the key. A general rule of thumb for your compost pile is 80% brown: 20% green.

 

WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR COMPOST

Greens (Nitrogen)
-    Fruit and  vegetable scraps
-    Coffee grounds and loose leaf tea
-    Lawn clippings
-    Green leaves trimmed from houseplants and landscape
-    Spent flower arrangements
-    Jack-o-lanterns (smashed)
-    Cooked pasta or rice
-    Pet waste/bedding (herbivorous pets; hamsters, rabbits, chickens, etc.)

Browns (Carbon)
-    Dead leaves
-    Egg shells
-    Dead twigs and branches(broken into pieces smaller than 2 inches)
-    Newsprint and uncoated paper (shredded or torn into small pieces)
-    Dead houseplants and their soil
-    Toilet paper and paper towel rolls
-    Used tissue and paper towels
-    Paper bags
-    Bills, plain paper documents, receipts, envelopes (remove plastic window)
-    Pencil shavings
-    Craft paper or paper party streamers
-    Coffee filters and natural tea bags
-    Cereal, pasta, oatmeal boxes (remove any plastic windows or lids)
-    Shredded cardboard (Amazon boxes are perfect )
-    Sawdust (from untreated and uncoated wood only)
-    Ashes from fireplace or fire-pit (never charcoal ash)
-    Cardboard egg crates

WHAT NOT TO PUT IN YOUR COMPOST
-    Dog and cat waste
-    Charcoal ash
-    Fish and meat scraps
-    Glossy or coated paper
-    Fruit and veggie stickers
-    Large branches
-    Citrus peels  and onion scraps (in small piles, the natural chemicals and acidity can kill worms and  microorganisms. occasional small scrap is okay)

To see all his tips on composting at home, see the video above.