Restore: Soil

  1. RESTORE: SOIL

“Why Teach Soil Science?”
Frontiers in Ecology 

DHEC Compost Guide for Schools

COMPOST:

“Greens” (high-nitrogen materials)

·         fruit and vegetable scraps
·         bread and grains
·         coffee grounds and filters
·         tea bags
·         eggshells
·         grass clippings

“Browns” (high-carbon material)

·         non-recyclable paper
·         non-recyclable paperboard
·         paper towels
·         dry leaves
·         clean sawdust and wood shavings from untreated wood

 

 DO NOT COMPOST:

·         meat
·         fish
·         poultry
·         bones
·         fats
·         grease/cooking oil
·         dairy products
·         evergreen leaves
·         coated paper
·         plastics
·         sawdust and wood shavings from treated wood

 

WHERE CAN YOU PUT COMPOSTING MATERIALS?

Indoor Worm Bin:

  • Made from a plastic container or foam cooler with air holes poked into lid
  • Add damp “bedding materials” (shredded newspaper or peat moss) and Red Wiggler Worms (NOT night crawlers or earthworms)
  • Bury small fruit scraps daily in each corner of the bin (slow down if food is not gone after a four-day rotation)
  • Keep bedding damm[ and the temperature moderate
  • When bedding becomes “goop” place food only at one end for two weeks in order to swap out the bedding at the opposite end.
  • Use the vermi-compost as mulch around plants or dilute it to make a compost “tea” that is great fertilizer

Garden Bins:

  • Should be placed at least 10 feet from your school
  • Compost bins are available online or from your city or county
  • Find local contact here
  • DHEC Recycling Education Grants or PalmettoPride grants will pay for compost equipment
  • Schools may need multiple bins (more bins may be needed as participation grows)

HOW WILL YOU COLLECT THE MATERIALS?

You can place buckets with attached lids in lunch rooms, kitchens and beside handwashing sinks (cat litter buckets with attached lids work great!)

HOW WILL YOU LAYER THE MATERIALS AND FACILITATE COMPOSTING?

  • Empty school buckets into compost bins (tear larger items; smaller items will decompose faster)
  • Put dry material  (dry leaves or mulch) on top of the wet material to eliminate odors and insects
  • Add oxygen by flipping or stirring the pile as needed
  • Add water to keep material damp, like a wrung-out sponge
  • Place the compost bins on bare ground for surface contact with soil critters

HOW WILL YOU FINISH THE COMPOST?

      You may want to use two bins:

 

      1. “Cook” the first semester batch until spring without adding new materials in bin#1

 

    2. Then, “cook” the second semester batch until fall without adding new materials in bin #2

PUT YOUR COMPOST TO USE!

Sprinkle it around your plants or mix 1 part compost to 5 parts garden soil for planting.

Composting Resources Bulletin