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Question: What’s the scoop on composting?

Answer: Mark Highland, president of Organic Mechanics Soil Company, West Chester (organicmechanicsoil.com) Composting is a natural process that converts organic waste into nutrient material that can be used as mulch around trees and shrubs, and in the root zone of plants.

The Department of Environmental Protection (dep.state.pa.us) sells a reasonably priced, quality compost bin that will keep out rodents. Kitchen waste—including fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and nutshells—can go in the compost. Don’t include meats, fish, poultry, dairy products or oils, which attract rodents. You also need carbon material—sticks, twigs, leaves, straw and shredded newspaper. When adding kitchen scraps, also add twice the carbon material so the compost can breathe and to prevent odors—and be sure to mix it regularly.

Whatever season you start making compost, you typically can use it the following season.

Have a question for an expert? E-mail tbehan@mainlinetoday.com.

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