WHAT IS COMPOST?
- Compost is made up of organic materials like food scraps, dried leaves, dead plants, and animal poop (manure).
- People put these types of organic materials in piles to help them decompose or break down. These piles will eventually turn into soil.
- Compost has a lot of nutrients so it can be added to gardens to help plants grow.
- In order for a compost pile to decompose it needs two ingredients: “greens” and “browns”
- Greens include things like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and grass clippings. These things are fresher and add something called “nitrogen” to the compost pile. Greens are wetter.
- Browns include things like dried leaves and newspaper. These are dead and dried plant parts and add something called carbon to the compost pile. Browns are drier.
Composting is a cycle. We buy or grow fruits, vegetables, and plants– like the apple in the diagram above. Then we eat the fruits and vegetables and have leftover food scraps which we can put in the compost bin. When the compost has decomposed it can be mixed with soil to help new plants grow. These new plants give us new fruits and vegetables which we then eat and the cycle starts over again!
COMPOSTING AT HOME
START YOUR OWN COMPOST IN A BOTTLE
Watch the decomposition process that happens in a compost bin from inside a bottle! This experiment takes about a ½ hour to set up but takes anywhere between 3 and 8 weeks to observe the whole decomposition process.
Here are detailed instructions to go with the video.
Download this log to record your observations, or use regular notebook paper.
When your compost is done decomposing it will look something like this.
Once the compost in your bottle looks like this, consider using it to grow a plant! If not, you can put the compost outside around plants that are already growing and recycle the plastic bottle, or compost some more! Share your log or progress of your compost with us #ydlsummerchallenge.
MORE WAYS TO COMPOST
Now watch three ways Mary composts at home!
LEARN MORE ABOUT COMPOSTING AND RECYCLING
COMPOSTING IN YPSI
Ypsilanti offers curbside recycling. If you need a curbside recycling bin, you can call 734-483-1421 or visit the Department of Public Services office. Recycling bins are available to anyone who lives in a 4 unit or smaller apartment building or home. They require proof of ID and residency to pick up your recycling bin. You can find more information here.
They also offer a Simple Recycling Program that accepts: clothing, sheets, pillows and pillow cases, blankets, comforters, belts, ties, books, shoes, curtains, purses, hats, kitchenware, pet beds, stuffed animals, tools and toys. Find more information here.
Ypsi does not offer curbside compost. You can learn more about Ypsi’s composting here.
READ A BOOK
Here are few to choose from!
Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth
Compost: Growing Gardens from your Garbage
Garbage Helps our Garden Grow: a Compost Story
Watch this cool video to learn more about composting.
Play a fun game to test your knowledge about recycling!
A magic elixir is a potion that is made from combining several different ingredients. When you combine the ingredients, the elixir will have magical abilities, like the ability to cure any illness.
Brainstorm some of the different magic elixirs that you wish existed. Then click the button below for a fun writing activity!