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Extension > Garden > Yard and Garden > Soils > Composting and mulching guide > Other Methods of Yard Waste Decomposition

Other Methods of Yard Waste Decomposition

An alternative to aerobic composting is the use of plastic garbage bags as mini-anaerobic digesters. The bags are easy to handle and require minimal maintenance. To break down garden wastes using this method, 30-40 gallon plastic bags should be alternately filled with plant wastes, fertilizer, and lime. About one tablespoon of a garden fertilizer with a high nitrogen content should be used per bag. Lime (one cup per bag) helps counteract the extra acidity caused by anaerobic digestion. After filling, add about 1-2 quarts of water. Dry material may require more than this quantity of water. Close tightly. You may want to double-bag these digesters to keep them as airtight as possible. Set the bag aside for six months to a year. Bags can be set in a basement or heated garage for better decomposition during winter months. Using garbage bags requires no turning or additional water after closing. The main advantage of this system is that it requires little maintenance; however, because oxygen is limited, the process is slow.

Vermiculture refers to using worms to break down and transform yard waste into a useable soil amendment.6 See reference 6 for more information on vermiculture.

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