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Summer 2016
In This Issue: Boning up on osteoporosis | Stroke: When every second counts
Compost for a healthy garden | Grilled vegetable sandwich



Compost for a healthy garden

Home composting is nature's recycling service. It allows you to recycle a significant amount of household waste – including vegetable peelings, fruit scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, newspaper, grass cuttings, and paper towels and napkins – that might otherwise be sent to a landfill.

Why compost? It improves the quality of your soil, bringing more nutrients to flowers and vegetables, and is a great (and cheaper) alternative to chemical fertilizers.

Ready to start your own compost pile? Here's how:

  1. Find a spot in your yard that's at least 3 feet by 3 feet, which is a sufficient size for yard and kitchen waste to decompose without a bin. Or you can simply buy a compost bin.
  2. Begin with a thick layer of carbon-rich brown materials, such as yard waste (dead flowers, straw, leaves) and shredded newspaper.
  3. Add several inches of nitrogen-rich green materials, such as grass and leftover food (no meat, fish or dairy waste).
  4. Add a thin layer of garden soil and moisten with water.
  5. That's it! Keep adding to these layers as you generate more waste.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans discard 40 percent of our annual food supply. What's more, food waste is the second largest component of our trash.

After a while, steam will emanate from the pile, which is a good sign that it's healthy. Earthworms should be visible. Using a shovel or pitchfork, turn your pile every week or two to mix it up. Add some water if it isn't moist. If your pile is too dry, decomposition will be slow (but too much water will give you a wet, smelly pile). The composting process takes several months to create and is ready to use when it is dark and rich in color.

Before you know it, you'll be putting your compost to good use in your garden and enjoying the fruits of your labor!

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