by Chris Hicks, Smith County Extension Agent

Chances are you have read about or known someone who is a “composter.” Maybe composting is something you’ve thought about doing but don’t know where or how to start. If that describes you, I hope you’ll consider attending our final installment of the 2019 Home, Farm, & Garden Lunch & Learn series on December 4 at the Smith County Chamber of Commerce. 

Wayne Key, UT Extension Agent in Putnam County, will be on hand from 12:00 – 1:00 to discuss “Composting Do’s and Don’ts.” Lunch will be served for only $5 for those who RSVP by December 2 by calling UT Extension at 615-735-2900. 

Composting is a great way to save money while reducing the amount of trash that winds up in landfills. It’s also a means of recycling leaves, grass clippings, and other garden litter into a useful soil amendment for their lawn and garden. 

For composting to work properly, the amount of carbon in relation to the amount of nitrogen in the compost pile needs to be about 30:1 in order to achieve the greatest microbial activity. Adequate moisture, particle size, and temperature of the pile are also important to the biological activity taking place. 

There are some things that one should avoid including in a compost pile. Human and pet feces can transmit diseases and should be left out. Meat, bones, grease, and dairy products may attract rodents and flies. Diseased plants and weed seeds can survive in a compost pile and be transferred when the material is used in the garden or landscape. 

On the other hand, leaves, grass, and other yard trimmings are great additions to the pile, along with vegetables, fruits, and peels. Napkins, cereal boxes, and paper towels are items that normally wind up in the landfill, but can be part of a great soil amendment when properly composted. 

If composting sounds like something you’d like to try, make plans to join us for the December 4 Lunch & Learn at the Smith County Chamber of Commerce. For questions and to RSVP call 615-735-2900 or email me at cbhicks@utk.edu.