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Steps help make the most of compost

Question: When I lived in New York, I used to compost, and I would love to compost in Henderson. Do I follow the same rules for composting in Nevada as I did when I lived in New York?

The ingredients and methods are the same, but I would like to add a few things that you might want to consider.

A great place would be a heavily shaded and protected spot away from the house. I would keep it out of the wind as much as possible. Wind drives the moisture out of the pile quickly, and the exposed surfaces have a harder time composting, usually requiring more frequent watering and turning.

Second, there is no reason for it to be in the sun, and it would be better if it weren’t.

Sunlight is not needed in a compost pile. All the energy driving the decomposition is coming from the microorganisms feeding on what is in the pile.

Third, we have lots of horse manure here that is taken to the landfill, where it is dumped. Use it when you can. It is nearly identical in attributes to cow manure.

The pile should be kept moist but not dripping. Make sure it is getting lots of air, so keep the piles small or turned frequently. I hope this helps.

Bob Morris is an associate professor with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. He can be reached at morrisr@unce.unr.edu or 257-5555.

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