There is no better time to create a compost pile than in late autumn, especially with the windfall of discarded Halloween and fall decorations available as perfect ingredients!
Compost is a necessity to keep the soil in your garden and flowerbeds productive year after year.
It not only rebuilds and recharges vital nutrients taken from the previous year’s crops and flowers, it also helps drastically improve soil structure.
And it just so happens, if you are looking to create some great compost for all of those above-mentioned benefits – late autumn in the perfect time!
The Ease Of Starting A Compost Pile From Fall Decorations
Halloween is now the second most decorated “season” behind Christmas. And luckily for composters, many of those decorations make for perfect compost pile ingredients!
Creating A Compost Pile, and Saving Space In The Landfill!
Sadly, many compostable Halloween and Autumn decorations are left out for the trash pick-up. And even more sad, they end up in the local landfill.
But with a bit of legwork, collecting these materials from friends, family and neighbors can keep them out of the landfill, all while creating great compost for you!
Here is a quick look at a few of the best autumn decorations to nab when the fall decorating season ends!
Pumpkins, Gourds And Squash
All of those scary carved jack-o-lanterns can have a second life in your compost pile. As can the gourds and squash used to create those beautiful autumn displays.
All of these break down quickly in a compost pile. In addition, they are an excellent source of nitrogen and helpful bacteria to help quickly break down other ingredients in the pile.
One note of caution, avoid painted or stained pumpkins to keep unwanted chemicals from your pile.
Straw Bales & Corn Stalk
There is nothing more sad than seeing corn-stalks and straw bales sitting at the curb for the trash pick-up the week after Halloween.
Both of these fall decorating materials are wonderful in the compost pile. Straw helps piles to retain all-important moisture, and adds solid organic matter as well.
And corn stalks, with their fibrous stalks help to create air channels in a pile as they break down.
Much like with any compost pile ingredients, corn stalks are best chopped up a bit before adding to a pile to help speed composition. (See : Secrets of Great Composting)
Hanging Baskets / Mums / Fall Planters
No fall display is complete without adding in a few potted colorful mums, asters, and other flowering plants. And all are tremendous additions for a fall compost pile!
Although many of fall’s potted plants (mums in particular) can be over-wintered indoors, most are simply tossed to the curb. (See : How To Overwinter Mums)
These plants, add both rich soil and foliage to a compost pile. Simply remove them from their containers, chop up the roots and foliage a bit with a sharp knife, and toss in the pile.
It is always best to remove the heads of the blooms before adding to the pile. This keeps unwanted seed heads from sprouting in the compost the following year.
And finally, there are leaves! Leaves are the mother-load of free composting materials, and they are available in abundance every fall.
And when it comes to fall decorations, they are often bagged curbside, ready for easy pick up!
All you have to do is pick them up and add them to your pile!
So make this the year you give your neighborhood fall decorations a second life in the compost pile! And of course, be rewarded next spring with some incredible compost!
Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.
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