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Composting For A Healthy Garden

Instead of Tossing Food Scraps and Yard Waste, Turn Them Into A Gardener's Dream

Lise LeBlanc of Highlands Ranch started gardening more than 20 years ago as a way to teach her kids how to eat healthy. While she was at it, she started tossing her kitchen scraps and yard waste into a compost heap to help her garden grow.

Now, she says, composting has become a way of life.

"Now it is impossible to throw away any food items that can be composted. Composting foods and garden debris helps you embrace the natural cycle of life and decay," she says.

Lise suggests these ways to get started:

• Buy a small bucket with a lid that has a carbon filter to keep under the sink to collect your kitchen scraps.

• Put a couple drops of essential oil in the bottom of the bucket to keep the small pesky fruit flies at bay.

• Simply take the food-scrap bucket out once or twice a week to the compost bin to empty it and give it a quick rinse and throw that water into the compost bin.

6 Tips for Composting:

1.  Pitch in all food scraps other than dairy or meat. Include grass clippings with no chemicals and garden debris that is weed-free.

2.  Layer with brown material like leaves saved from the fall clean up, torn up egg cartons, shredded newspaper.

3.  Keep it moist like a sponge — but not too much water.

4.  Add some good, living soil from your garden to get a good start.

5.  Turning the compost is optional, but it will speed up the process.

6.  Do not use until it is “finished.”  If you start in the summer/fall, it can be ready the following spring. It should look dark and crumbly and smell earthy.

Compost things like:

1.  Vegetable and fruit peels, like carrot, potato, orange, apple, banana

2.  Crushed egg shells

3.  Dead leaves

4.  Old bread and pasta

5.  Grass clippings

6.  Coffee grounds and tea bags