Composting

MASTER RECYCLER COMPOSTER TRAINING WORKSHOPS, TO REGISTER FOR THE CLASSES PLEASE CALL 360-740-1216

Space is limited so please preregister for all classes, on the worm composting classes preregistration gets participants a free worm bin and materials (one kit per family please)

DON'T THROW OUT YOUR FOOD SCRAPS -- TRY WORM COMPOSTING!!

WORM COMPOSTING CLASSES.

COMPOSTING BASICS (classroom)

KNOW YOUR SOILS WORKSHOPS

HANDS ON COMPOSTING (all classes at central transfer station)

ORGANICS CURBSIDE RECYCLING

LeMay Enterprises offers curbside yard waste pickup in Centralia, Chehalis, Napavine, Winlock, and rural Centralia/Chehalis. This service provides the removal of yard waste, food scraps, cardboard, waxed cardboard, newspapers, magazines, sawdust, and other compostable materials. To start the service call 360-736-4769.

CENTRAL TRANSFER STATION IN CENTRALIA

Woody Waste is accepted at the Central Transfer Station in Centralia and the East Lewis County Transfer Station east of Morton. The cost is $60.00 per ton with a minimum charge of $5.00 for 160 pounds or less. The wood waste drop off area in Centralia can be accessed by following the signs and turning left prior to driving up the ramp to the tipping floor. STUMPS, LIMBS, TREES, AND BRANCHES will be accepted at the Woody Debris drop-off area. See Scale Attendant for more details. NO DIMENSIONAL, PRESSURE TREATED, OSB, PRESS BOARD, LAMINATES, OR PAINTED WOOD MATERIALS ARE ACCEPTED.

LAWN GRASS, LEAVES, YARD TRIMMINGS, GARDEN SPOILS are accepted at the Central Transfer Station in Centralia. The cost is $60.00 per ton with the minimum fee of $5.00 for 160 pounds or less. A 40 yard container for grass clippings, leaves, yard trimmings, garden spoils is located along the recycling area bulkhead (see signs for directions). Customers must weigh-in at the scale house. See Scale Attendant for more details. NO DIMENSIONAL, PRESSURE TREATED,OSB, PRESS BOARD, LAMINATES, OR PAINTED WOOD MATERIALS ARE ACCEPTED.

THE NOXIOUS WEEDS LISTED BELOW WILL NOT BE ALLOWED and must be disposed of as garbage at $90.00 per ton.

Yellow archangel (lamiastrum galeobdolon)

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus)

Knotweeds: Japanese, Bohemian, giant and Himalayan (Polygonum cuspidatum, P.x bohemicum, P. sachalinense, P. polystachyum

English Ivy (Hedera helix “Baltica,” Hedera helix “Pittsburgh,” and Hedera helix “Star,” and Hedera hibernica “Hibernica”)

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum)

Tansy ragwort (Senecia jacobaea)

Giant hogweed (Heracleaum mantegazzianum)

Houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale)

Spurge laurel (Daphne laureola)

Blackberry (Rupus Laciniatus)

Scotch Broom (Cytisus Dcoparius)

Washington State publishes a list of noxious weeds in classes A, B, and C, to obtain a copy visit this linkhttp://www.nwcb.wa.gov or contact 360-740-1215.

COMPOSTABLE GRASS AND LEAF BAGS CAN BE PURCHASED AT THE FOLLOWING RETAIL OUTLETS IN THE CENTRALIA CHEHALIS AREA.

Sunbird Shopping Center sells the compostable bio-bag which can be included in the lawn/leaf program.

Walmart sells the Glad compostable bag which can be included in the lawn/leaf program.

The Home Depot sells a compostable paper type bag which can be included in the lawn/leaf program.

CHEHALIS

Chehalis residents living within the city limits have a drop off opportunity for yard waste. A resident may call the City of Chehalis Community Development Department for information on a seasonal green waste permit. This permit allows a resident to drop off yard waste material that will be composted at a location managed by the City of Chehalis. For more information, please call (360) 748-0271.

DO-IT-YOURSELF YARD WASTE RECYCLING (BETTER KNOWN AS COMPOSTING!)

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Food and yard waste can also be composted in your back yard. Compost bins may be purchased online or check with your local garden retailers.

You can obtain information on composting from the internet, library, or local bookstore. You may want to take a composting workshop offered periodically by the Master Recycler/Composters. To find out more about a composting workshop call 360-740-1452.

You can compost all year around. A batch of compost should be ready in about two months. Turn your pile often (once a week) and ensure the pile doesn't dry out. Your finished compost should be dark brown to black and have an earthy smell. Your finished compost can be used as a soil amendment, as a top dressing in the fall or spring for your lawn or garden, or as an additive to potting soil.

If composting and recycling interests you, think about becoming a Master Composter/Recycler. This program is offered through the Washington State University/Lewis County Extension Office. Classes are usually offered twice a year. Call 360-740-1452 or 360-740-1212 for more information.

STARTING A COMPOST BIN

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Picking a compost bin

  • Pallet system
  • Wire cage with ventilation
  • Cinder block pens
  • Compost piles
  • Trench composting
  • Earth Machine, Seattle Composter, or other store bought composter

Getting the right mix: Mix Ratio

  • 1 part: Green plant material -- cut grass, green garden material, manure
  • 2 parts: Brown plant material -- dry leaves, dry grass or hay, straw, wood shavings, sawdust, bush, and tree prunings
  • Note: Cut your grass short to achieve small particles. A chipper/shredder helps reduce particle size for leaves, hay and straw, as well as bush, and tree prunings
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Moisture is important. If the cut grass and other material is on the dry side sprinkle with water to wet the material prior to adding to the bin or pile.

Mix well to ensure the brown and green material becomes a homogeneous pile.

MAKING COMPOST

Temperature: A good pile will heat up to 140 - 160'F.

Continue turning the pile every week. Check temperature daily

Curing: When the pile drops below 110'F the pile is in the curing stage. Let the pile rest for 4-8 weeks

FINISHED COMPOST

Once the pile has cured remove from the bin or other composting container or pen.

You can screen the material to remove larger particles or unfinished compost. Return these parts to the next batch of compost.

Store the compost in a pile or other pen. Cover to prevent nutrients from being washed away.

USING YOUR COMPOST

Put your cured compost back in your garden. Use it as a top dressing for your lawn. Add it to potting soil for your inside plants.

Most of all enjoy the benefits of your compost!

VERMICULTURE -- COMPOSTING WITH WORMS

What is Vermiculture? The process of converting food waste into nutrient-rich black humas using worms (red wigglers) and microorganisms.

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Why red wiggler worms? These worms are the most efficient at eating food waste. One pound of red wigglers can consume 50 pounds of food waste in 90 days.

What's on the menu? Red wigglers are vegetarians. They eat fruits, vegetables, breads (no butter), crushed egg shells, rice, pasta, coffee grounds, flowers, leaves, and dead plants.

What's not on the menu? Meat, bones, fat, eggs, fish, peanut butter, butter, sour cream, cheese, and gravy.

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What type of container do I need? A wood box, an opaque plastic container or a Styrofoam cooler works well. The container should be 12 to 18 inches deep. The container should have several small holes in the bottom to allow excess liquids to drain.

What is the excess liquid found in a worm bin? This liquid is called worm tea. It is a nutrient-rich liquid that is ideal for watering house plants, and other plants and flowers planted in containers.

How do I start a worm bin?

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  • Determine the size of container you will need based on how much food waste you produce in a week. (Remember: 1 pound of worms eats 4 pounds of food waste per week). The container should be large enough to store 2-3 weeks of food waste or use multiple containers.
  • Buy the worms from a good source. Call 360-740-1212 for a local worm dealer.
  • Fill the worm bin with bedding -- newspaper strips, dry leaves, mulch.
  • Add two handfuls of topsoil to provide grit to aid in digestion.
  • Dampen the bedding.
  • Add the worms
  • Cover with additional bedding. Replace the lid.

How do I care for my worm bin?

  • Place in a cool location away from direct sunlight.
  • Feed the worms 2-3 times a weeks. Bury the food waste 2/3 deep into the bedding. Alternate locations in the bedding each time.
  • Check for smells, this could be a sign that there is too much moisture or the bin is too wet. Add bedding to absorb excess moisture.

How do I harvest my worm compost?

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  • In a darkened area (like a garage or porch) dump out the contents of the bin.
  • Segregate the worms from the castings (worm compost).
  • Put worms back into the bin
  • Add fresh bedding and top soil to the worm bin.
  • Screen the compost and remove larger particles. Add the larger particles back into the worm bin.
  • Use the compost immediately or store in a container for later use.

What if something goes wrong? If you overfeed your worms, feed them the wrong food, allow the bin to get to hot, too cold, too wet or too dry, your worms may die. If the bin smells like rotten food, your worms may be dead. Dump out the bin and start again. You may want to get a bigger container. Ensure you completely fill your bin with bedding and dampen the bedding. Only add as much food as your worms will eat.

For more information: Call 360-740-1452 or 360-740-1212.

Lewis County has Urban Growth Boundaries where it is illegal to burn. Burning of yard waste causes air pollution and may cause a brush or forest fire that can burn hundreds of acres of trees and grass in a short period of time.

A better solution to burning is composting. With the help of a chipper tree branches and brush can be chipped to a smaller size, mixed with grass and leaves and turned into compost, a natural soil amendment.

Compost can be added to gardens, lawns, and mixed with potting soil for indoor plants. Compost helps grass and plants grow better with less water.