Composting is another way to reduce the amount of our household solid waste. Bans on outdoor burning and limits on the dumping of yard waste makes composting a practical and convenient alternative for recycling organic matter such as leaves, grass clippings and vegetable and fruit scraps. Also, compost makes a great yard and garden fertilizer.
First, build the simplest compost bin. Materials needed are 1" mesh chicken wire, 12 feet by 3 feet. You may choose to make it taller but lifting items to put in the pile may become difficult if it is too high. Take lengths of. 1" x 2" boards and cut into 3-foot lengths. You'll need 5 of these. Using hardware staples, nail the boards along the two 3 foot ends of the wire, and at 3-foot intervals along the length of the wire. Now attach two sets of hooks and eyes to the 2 end boards near the top and bottom. Place the unit on the ground and form a circle (boards on the inside) then fasten the hooks and eyes. The beauty of this bin is that once it is full, you can unfasten and remove it to start a new pile. The compost pile you've built will stand by itself.
You cannot get compost overnight. It takes about a month in the summer and longer during other seasons. The important thing is to alternate materials and layers as materials become available. The two most important ingredients are air and water. Without these decomposition cannot take place. You will need to water the pile so that it is damp, not soggy. Air is added by placing stakes in the ground inside the pile before layering and then removing them 3 weeks after the pile is full. All yard and kitchen scraps can go in your pile but DO NOT include any meat scraps or anything with soap residue. The finer ground the material, the faster it will decompose. Just remember to always cover kitchen scraps, preferably with soil. Any decomposed material around the edges is just food for the next pile.
More information on composting is available from the Coweta County Extension Service. Have fun and give back to the earth what we have taken from it.