Compost Leaves and Grass

Success Story -
Students in Duluth built compost bins from recycled wood. Then they sold the bins, instructing buyers on how to use the bins to turn yard waste and kitchen scraps into soil-enriching compost.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Decide where you will put your compost pile. School? Individual homes? Where on the property? In the right spot, you may not even need a bin.
  2. Decide what you will put in your pile. Leaves and grass clippings only? Kitchen scraps? Cow, chicken, or horse manure? (Never dog or cat waste.)
  3. Plan ahead about who will maintain the system. (Composting is a long-term commitment.)
  4. Get materials and tools.
  5. Set it up.
  6. Keep it going. Add material. Turn the pile. Monitor wetness/dryness.
  7. Put finished compost in gardens, flower beds, planters....

Get step-by-step composting instructions from the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance (OEA) web site. Learn what goes into compost, how to build bins, the science behind composting, and more. Includes links for curricula and additional information.

Note: Composting leaves and grass clippings to reduce phosphorus pollution is easy. However, if you also want to include kitchen scraps* or manure in your compost pile, follow MOEA's instructions to avoid stink and rodent problems. *(Food makes up 12.4% of Minnesota's solid waste.)

Background Fact Sheet for Students - Read on-line and/or download "Phosphorus and the Green Scum," a one-page fact sheet for students explaining the science behind nutrient pollution.

Use Computer Model of Compost Inputs - The Florida Backyard Composting Tutorial and Information website "Virtual Compost Pile" calculates your carbon to nitrogen ratio for you when you tell it what you plan to put in the compost bin.

For Teachers:

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