Facilities Management
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Composting

Grass Recycling

is good lawn care practice and here is how to do it

 

Rule of thumb for mowing lawns is not to remove more than one-third of the leaf blade ant any one time.  If you use the below table as your mowing schedule, you will no longer need to bag your grass clippings.
Grass:
Mower blade height:
Mow before it reaches:
Kentucky Bluegrass
2 - 2.5"
3 - 3.5"
Fine fescue
2 - 2.5"
3 - 3.5"
Perennial Ryegrass
2 - 2.5"
3.5 - 4"
Tall fescue
2.5 - 3"
3.5 - 4"
Zoysiagrass
1"
2"

Table is from Waste Action:  Bulletin on Reducing, Reusing, Recycling Solid Waste, Issue No. 5, April 1992.  by the Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet.

Backyard Composting

Three Compost Recipes from the Seattle Solid Waste Utility

Slow Compost (Ready in 12-18):  Ingredients - Mixed yard waste and rainwater.  Directions - 1.  Set compost bin in an area where it is sure to get rain, preferably out of direct sunlight.  2.  Add materials as generated.  Keep compost covered in the summer to retain moisture.  In 1 year the bottom and center of the pile should be ready to harvest.  Use the uncomposted materials to start a new batch.    

Medium Compost (Ready in 6 - 9 months):  Ingredients - Mixed green and brown yard waste as generated.  Nitrogen (10-0-0 or bloodmeal) if needed to balance excess brown, woody wastes.  Water as needed.  Cover with black plastic or carpet to retain moisture.  Directions -  1.  Place yard waste in bin as generated, chopping up large, tough materials.  2. Water as needed.  3. Cover waste.  4. Dig into pile monthly.  If middle of the pile is dry mix with moist waste.  Note:  If the pile is woody and not decomposing, add grass or nitrogen fertilizer.  In 6 months the bottom and center of the pile should be ready to harvest.  Use the uncomposted materials to start a new batch.    

Fast Compost (Ready in one month):  Ingredients - 2-3 wheelbarrows of grass clippings, flower stalks, and weeds.  2-3 wheelbarrows of fall leaves, corn stalks or dead brown plants.  Water.  Heavy black plastic or carpet to retain moisture.  Directions -  1.  Lay 6" of course stalks or woody waste at bottom of bin.  2. Add a 6" thick layer of fresh grass clippings or other "green" wastes.  Chop large, tough materials.  3. Repeat step 2 with leaves and other brown wastes.  4. Mix layers with a garden fork or compost turning tool and moisten dry materials.  5. Repeat steps 2-4.   Monitor heat in pile.  When the pile has heated and starts to cool (about one week) turn it, burying dry wastes from edges in middle of the pile.  Water if needed.  Turn again in a week.  Let cure for two weeks before using.    

Composting Pet Waste First dig a hole about 1 foot deep.  Put 3 - 4" pet waste at the bottom of the hole, and use a shovel to chop and mix the waste into the soil.  Then cover by filling in the rest of the hole.  Bury pet waste around ornamental plant (never in food-growing areas).  
How do you use compost Mulch:  Spread the compost 1/2 to 3 inches deep around plants.  This protects the soil from erosion, compaction, and keep roots moist.  Keep compost away from the stems of plants and tree trunks.

Soil Enricher:  Add several inches of compost to soil, thoroughly mixing composting and soil.

Potting Mix: Sift compost with a 1/2 inch screen for use in potting mixes.  Mix two parts compost and one part sand.  Add fertilizer if needed.  

EPA -- Office of Solid Waste -- Composting

On-Farm Composting       Composting Questions