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Compost Material:
Grass clippings,
foliage from flowers and vegetables,
small twigs,
straw, hay, and peat moss,
sawdust,
shredded paper
vegetable and fruit peels and remains, tea bags, coffee grounds, and crushed egg shells.

To speed up decomposition you can add manure or nitrogen fertizer. Add lime or wood ash if there is an abundance of pine needles.

Unacceptable Compost Material:
Bones, dairy products, fats and oils, grease, meat, pet feces, plastic or synthetic fibers.

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Compost Happens

The leaves will be falling in just a few weeks and Minneapolis residents face their first autumn with the new organics collection rules. Since early this spring, the City of Minneapolis will collect only yard waste that is in compostable plastic bags, kraft paper bags or re- usable containers of less than 33 gallons. Some of us may take this change as an encouragement to create a compost bin, and save a little money, but composting has a number of real benefits. Chief among these are that your garden will look great for spending only a little time and money, and it's earth friendly, too.


"What is a compost bin and how hard is it to compost?"

Successful composting uses a layering of green and brown materials; "brown" material like twigs that are good for aeration and a source of carbon, and "green" material such as moist grass clippings that provide water and nitrogen. Where many people get lost with composting is the need to turn it every few days to maintain the heat at 130-170 degrees, otherwise it will smell.

Compost Bins
Oxygen is essential. The microbes that break down compost material need oxygen to work their magic, so the easier it is for oxygen to get to them, the quicker they can generate heat, and the faster good compost will happen. Select a bin style that accommodates and accelerates this process and composting will less of a chore.

Minneapolis residents need to contain compost in some kind of bin and there are a wide variety to choose from: You can DIY with chicken wire and lumber, purchase a plastic bin for about $150, or buy a nearly effortless, super fast, deluxe compost tumbler that sells for about $300 and up. Whichever you select, your compost bin needs to be at least 3'x3'x3' to generate enough heat for decomposition, and to kill any weed seeds and plant diseases. The bin should have a lid to keep critters out and the heat in.

Note: Minneapolis restricts the size and number of compost bins. No compost bin may be larger than 5'x5'x5' and the number of bins are restricted relative to lot size.


Compost Bin Placement
The ideal placement of a compost bin is where it is sheltered from the wind, gets at least partial sunlight, and is away from the runoff of roof overhangs. Too much moisture is just as bad for decomposition as too little. Place your bin at least one foot away from property lines, and 20 feet away from any house other than your own.

Regularly turned compost will be ready in about three months, but untended it could take a year. The City of Minneapolis and the University of MN Extension Service web sites are an excellent source of information on composting, and gardeners of all levels will find them useful and informative.


References used for this article:
http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-build-a-compost-bin/index.html
http://www.minneapolismn.gov/solid-waste/yardwaste/solid-waste_yardwaste
http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG3899.html

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