Composting

"The Earth Machine" Compost Units are available at Public Works, 80 Huston Road, for the cost of $46 each (includes sales tax).  For more information on this composting unit, please click here.

We accept leaves and grass clippings at any time, no appointment necessary.

We will have the spring and fall brush drop off, two Saturdays in the spring and fall.  We will put a notice of the dates and time in the Gorham Times and the Town of Gorham website prior to the event.


Composting Information

Leaves, grass, and kitchen waste represents about 30% of household trash. Composting these materials helps to reduce trash volume and also provides soil nutrients. With very little maintenance, the compost bin turns kitchen waste, leaves, dried grass, garden plants, old potting soil and other yard waste into soil-enriching compost. Composting turns waste into a resource that not only benefits homeowners' yards, but the environment in general. Composting kitchen and yard waste:

  • Builds healthy soil and helps suppress weeds.
  • Improves the availability of soil nutrients in gardens.
  • Improves the soil's ability to hold water.
  • Naturally fertilizes and helps to control pests without using chemicals.

Composting Fundamentals

You can put as much effort as you like into your composting system, but composting is really a very simple process that needs only minimal maintenance.Compost is made by billions of microbes (fungi, bacteria, etc.) that digest yard and kitchen wastes. A good mix of Carbons (browns) and Nitrogen (greens) is the best nutritional balance for the microbes. Carbons, or 'Browns' are dry and dead plant materials such as straw, dry brown weeds, autumn leaves. Nitrogen or 'Greens' are fresh plant materials such as weeds, fruit and vegetable scraps, green leaves, coffee grounds and tea bags, fresh horse manure, etc.

Air

Composting microbes are aerobic -- they can't do their work well unless they are provided with air. Without air, anaerobic (non-air needing) microbes take over the pile. They do help with decomposition, but tend to cause odor. For this reason, it's important to make sure that there are plenty of air passageways into your compost pile. Some compost ingredients, such as green grass clippings or wet leaves, mat down very easily into slimy layers that air cannot get through. Other ingredients, such as straw, don't mat as easily and are helpful in allowing air into the center of a pile. You can also turn the pile to get air into it, which means breaking it apart with a spade or garden fork and then piling it back together.

Water

Your pile should be as moist as a wrung-out sponge to fit the needs of compost microbes. If your pile is a great deal wetter, the ingredients will tend to mat down and keep air from the pile, which slows the composting process and may create anaerobic odor problems. If you are using dry ingredients, such as autumn leaves or straw, you may want to add water when you add them to the pile.

Finished Compost

Finished compost is dark brown and has an earthy smell, like the smell of soil. Usually, it's difficult to recognize any of the original ingredients, although bits of hard-to-decompose materials such as straw, corn cobs, and egg shells sometimes can still be seen. There really is no single point at which compost is ready - it is fine to use compost that still has a few recognizable bits of material - it will finish rotting in the soil.

Finished Compost Uses

Many people put compost into their garden soil by turning it in prior to spring planting. Compost can also be used as a top dressing on lawns and gardens or used as a mulch around landscape and garden plants.

Compost Improves Soil

Compost adds organic matter. In sandy soils, compost helps retain water in the soil and protects plants against drought. In clay soils, compost helps the soil drain more quickly so that it doesn't stay as wet and is less apt to dry out and crack.

What to Compost, What Not to Compost

What to compost: Garden waste, grass and yard trimmings, straw, hay, leaves, Kitchen waste, coffee filters & grounds, tea bags, vegetables, fruits, tea bags, egg shells, paper towels, manure.

What not to compost: Meat & dairy products, bones, fats, oils, peanut butter, diseased vegetation, plywood, pressure treated wood, household pet waste.


For more information about composting, visit: