How to Compost for Your Lawn and Garden

 Unfastened, natural, and distinctly wealthy in vitamins, selfmade compost can revive depleted soils and flip terrible plants into wealthy yields. It’s a miracle employee, and understanding how to compost to your lawn and garden is a valuable talent to grasp. 

Who can make compost? practically every body. It doesn’t count if you personal a substantial property within the rural areas of Vermont or Montana or use a small container beneath your sink in a manhattan studio condo. if you want a herbal fertilizer for your lawn, garden, or potted flowers and are willing to attempt it, you’ll discover composting as smooth as making espresso. 

In domestic & lawn stores, compost sells for $three to $10 for a forty-pound bag, however you could make it at home for free from kitchen and lawn waste, and we’ll inform you how. whilst you finish studying, you’ll recognize what meals waste you could use for composting, the way to make your very own compost, and a way to upload it to your lawn and lawn.

How to hot compost 

With hot composting, aerobic microbes decompose the organic remember. They want oxygen, a good carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, and proper moisture. Compost piles using this method can attain up to a hundred and sixty°F in the center all through decomposition, dashing up the composting system and killing pathogens and weed seeds. 


✓ extraordinarily speedy. it is able to take three weeks to five months, depending on how you manipulate the pile.

✓ It kills pathogens and weeds that get in the blend.

✓ Odorless if executed proper.

✓ first-rate as a continuous supply of true-first-class compost.

✓ it is able to be executed indoors and outside.


✗ you have to turn the pile regularly to aerate the mixture.

✗ It requires consistent monitoring of moisture and temperature degree.

✗ The pile may need insulation outside in places with hot summers and freezing winters. 

What you may compost and a way to mix the components

Technically, you could compost any natural rely from grass, wood, and meals scraps to hair, nails, meat, and bones. a few materials are smooth to compost, whilst others can odor terrible and appeal to insects and rodents. You should mix the right share of carbon and nitrogen to gain an green composting procedure. 

the perfect hot compost recipe: two to 4 buckets of browns to 1 bucket of vegetables

an amazing compost blend has approximately 25 to 30 elements carbon to 1 part nitrogen or, as a lab professional would say, a C:N ratio of 25 – 30:1. that is the suitable blend for cardio decomposing microbes like micro organism and fungi to thrive. Carbon is their food, and nitrogen is quintessential for their growth and replica. 

Carbon and nitrogen are present in natural depend in distinctive proportions. for example, timber chips have a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of 400:1, whilst espresso grounds have 20:1. To simplify composting, we break up organic waste into 2 categories:

Browns, additionally referred to as brown substances or brown waste, encompass carbon-wealthy materials along with dry leaves, cardboard, timber portions, and so forth. they have a low water content material, so we reflect onconsideration on them the dry substances within the mix. 

greens, additionally called inexperienced materials or green waste, include nitrogen-rich substances like grass clippings, sparkling plant cuttings, and weeds, but also used coffee grounds and manure. vegetables have a better water content material, so we treat them as the wet factor. 

To get the favored carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, we combine diverse veggies and browns. It’s complex to estimate each waste’s carbon and nitrogen content material and calculate the quantity you ought to upload. So, in practice, we turn to a simple rule of thumb that has proved distinctly a hit for decades: 

To get the right compost blend, upload 2 to four buckets of browns for each bucket of veggies.

for example, you fill a 5-gallon bucket with grass clippings, a few clean plant cuttings, and some paper tea luggage and positioned all those veggies inside the bin. To stability the C:N ratio, add two to 4 five-gallon buckets with dry leaves, shredded paper, cardboard, or wooden chips. 

clean. Now let’s see what you can use in your private home composting bin in greater element. 

What to use and what to keep away from while you’re warm composting

here are the maximum common kitchen scraps and garden waste for warm composting. 

vegetables (nitrogen-wealthy substances) Browns (carbon-wealthy substances)

Fruit and vegetable scraps Dry leaves 

beaten eggshells Plant stalks, twigs, and branches

Grass clippings (reduce in smaller pieces and unfold in thin layers to keep away from clumping and matting)

timber chips (untreated)

yard trimmings Sawdust and timber ash (sprinkle in thin layers to avoid clumping)

Used coffee grounds Brown paper baggage (shredded)

Paper espresso filters (if vermicomposting, don’t add bleached filters, they may be toxic for compost worms) not-smooth, no longer-coloured paper (shredded)

Biodegradable paper tea luggage (besides the staples) Cardboard (barring  waxy layer, glue, or tape; shredded)

keep away from adding these in your compost bin:

Meat scraps, bones, fish, cheese, and dairy products. they are smelly, gradual to compost, and appeal to rodents and bugs.

pet waste and cat clutter can spread parasites like Toxoplasma gondii into your compost.

fat, oils, and greases create a water-resistant barrier around the waste, slowing decomposition.

smooth paper, product stickers, and painted or treated wooden have undesirable chemicals.

Diseased or pest-infested vegetation. 

Weeds with seeds.

flora or grass that has been uncovered to pesticides or herbicides 

Cooked meals with masses of salt, animal grease, oils, and many others.

Onion and garlic in big amounts.

Citrus peels in large amounts.

the hot composting technique in 7 steps

hot composting is the maximum popular because it’s rapid and stops the spreading of plant diseases and nasty weeds across the assets with the finished compost. 

tools and system:

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Buckets
  • Shovel
  • Pitchfork
  • Watering can with a rosette or garden hose with a nozzle
  • Compost or soil thermometer
  • Compost bin (widespread or tumbler bin, bought or made DIY)

Step 1: choose a place for your composting device

The best location for an out of doors composting system is commonly a shady, unused corner of your backyard. Compost dries out too fast if you hold it in direct sunlight. also, make certain the region has good drainage and is not under a gutter or in a low spot in which water tends to pool. 

select a place near the primary source of lawn waste (garden, vegetable lawn, and many others.) so collecting and adding the materials for your pile is straightforward. 

Step two: set up collecting packing containers or regions

positioned up a field on your kitchen to gather fruit and vegetable scraps. most homeowners preserve such containers under the sink, in a cabinet, or within the fridge. It relies upon on the gap you have handy. 

additionally, select a place outside where you may accumulate backyard waste. Use it to gather brown materials like branches, twigs, sawdust, wood trash, and dry leaves. This method, any time you upload some vegetables, whether they’re plant cuts, grass clippings, or food scraps, you have ample brown cloth to stability the mix.

Step three: prepare the composting site

clean the vicinity of debris and positioned aside natural materials you could use to your compost, like fallen branches, plant fabric, grass, and so on. determine among a closed composting bin and an open compost pile and install the structure.

Closed composting bins commonly have an opened bottom (but now not always), a pinnacle lid, and compact partitions product of wooden or plastic. This design facilitates hold the warmth interior and quickens the decomposition procedure. you may make a closed compost bin DIY from a plastic container or construct one from wood. in case you’re now not reachable with equipment, you can purchase one online. we’ve a detailed manual to help you pick out the excellent compost bin.

An open composting pile is a extra uncovered and free structure of composting. In this case, you use chicken wire geared up with metallic stalks or wood pallets screwed or tied together to create a form that continues the compost materials in and forestalls them from tumbling out. 

Open piles have higher airflow, but the compost is greater exposed to warmth and rain, and also you want to observe the moisture level and temperature carefully. There are already made structures for open-air composting you could purchase, however it’s usually less expensive and pretty smooth to place one collectively DIY.

How huge need to the compost bin or pile be? skilled gardeners suggest preserving it between three feet through three toes and 5 ft with the aid of five toes. At this length, the compost heap is big sufficient that the middle stays hot but small sufficient to be effortlessly became.

Step four: construct the compost pile 

begin with a 4 to 6-inch layer of dry substances like twigs, branches, and wooden chips. They’ll help take in leaching drinks and make certain airflow and oxygen for the composting micro organism. 

next, layer vegetables and browns in addition to getting ready a lasagna. To balance the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, use two to 4 buckets of browns for every bucket of vegetables. In a medium-sized bin, that means 5 to 7 buckets to make a layer of browns, alternating with 2 to 3 buckets to create a layer of vegetables.

Don’t push the material down to suit in extra. Compacted compost slows down the manner as a result of loss of air.

spread some water on each layer of brown to make the compost uniformly moist. Use a watering can or a garden hose with a nozzle. Don’t soak the compost; just make it a bit wet. 

to test it, placed on some gloves, take a piece of compost for your hand, and squeeze challenging. If a drop is slightly forming or a unmarried drop of water is falling (however no extra), you’re adequate.

end the compost pile with a layer of carbon-wealthy materials, 4 to 8 inches thick. 

have to you cowl the compost pile? honestly sure. positioned the lid on (if the bin has one), or region some cardboard pieces or a tarp to cowl the pile. This maintains rainwater away and forestalls the compost from getting too wet.

let the compost pile sit down for 4 days, and don’t disturb it. Decomposing bacteria and other beneficial microorganisms are settling in.

Step five: Aerate the compost pile 

on the fifth day, turn your pile for the first time. the hot composting technique makes use of oxygen to heat the pile and speed up decomposition. when natural materials get moist and smash down, they clump collectively, and airflow is constrained. You should flip the compost periodically to loosen it and get greater air in.

How to show the compost efficaciously? Take a pitchfork, a lawn fork, or a shovel and get all of the compost out of the pile. Then positioned it all returned in, making sure that what you obtain from the edges receives inside the middle. This method, you aerate the whole pile, and all the operating microbes get oxygen.

How regularly must you turn the pile? It relies upon on what method you’re the use of. 

The traditional technique says at least as soon as a week during summer season and each 3 to 4 weeks whilst the bloodless climate comes. It has a turnaround time of three to 5 months. 

then again, the Berkeley approach (aka speedy composting) says to show the pile each different day and promises a completely decomposed pile in 18 days. 

Discouraged through all this turning and piling business? reflect onconsideration on the use of a compost tumbler. It’s a barrel-like bin located on a form that approves you to rotate it with a cope with. It makes turning and mixing compost a stroll in the park. we’ve got an educational for a DIY version in our a way to make a DIY compost bin guide.  

you can also pick to shop for a pitcher bin.  they’re famous in on line retail shops like Amazon, domestic Depot, and Walmart. 

Step 6: manipulate the compost pile temperature and moisture

in case you build the pile successfully, it should warmness up quickly. In 24 to 36 hours, the middle of the pile have to be 140 to 155°F, the right temperature for immediate composting. 

Use a compost thermometer to test the temperature. If the pile doesn’t warmness up, it’s both too dry or too wet. If too dry, unfold a few water and turn it. If too wet, add more browns and flip the pile.

pro tip: Don’t positioned tap water (that is chlorinated) at once over your compost! it is able to kill the compost bacteria. let it take a seat for twenty-four hours in a bucket or any huge box. Or, use a rain barrel to get a few clean, fresh rainwater for this challenge.

sometimes the pile can get too warm, specially if covered very well and exposed to the solar. whilst the temperature exceeds one hundred sixty°F, a white moldy substance appears at the compost. Composting micro organism die in too much heat, so that you’ll want to turn the compost to cool it down if that occurs. 

What’s a compost thermometer? A compost thermometer is just like a soil thermometer. It has a digital or analog display and a long, skinny metal stem that you may insert deep into the pile to test the central temperature. models vary in stem size from 12 inches long (for small compost piles) to 36 inches (for big hundreds). they are available in online retail shops like Amazon and home Depot.

Step 7: permit the compost mature

After the organic waste has decomposed, the pile starts to calm down. but the compost isn’t always geared up but. You need to allow it cure and mature for at least a month once it’s executed decomposing. 

in the course of this time:

The number of microorganisms in it lowers. They’re very useful however compete with plants for vitamins, and also you don’t want too many in your lawn beds.

The soil pH adjusts to a plant-safe level among 6 and eight.

substances poisonous to plants that might be present in fresh compost disappear (i.e. ammonia, natural acids, salts).

a way to accelerate decomposition in warm composting

There are methods to hurry up decomposition in a compost pile if you need the soil change quicker. here are a few suggestions for assisting warm compost decompose quicker:

  • cut food scraps and yard trimmings into smaller portions to assist them decompose faster.
  • flip the pile more often.
  • Insert some sticks or tubes into the compost pile to keep it unfastened and improve airflow.
  • upload an activator like fowl manure, grass, nettles, compost tea, or completed compost.
  • Insert a hot water bottle in the pile’s middle to kick-start decomposition.
  • add cumbersome materials into your compost to create air space, like wooden pieces, straw, and cardboard.
  • Insulate your bin or compost pile to sustain a higher inner temperature.

common hot composting troubles and a way to resolve them

Even seasoned gardeners cope with compost issues from time to time. It’s a dwelling pile of organic matter complete of chemical and organic reactions; every so often, matters don’t go as planned. however, composting issues are generally easy and rapid to resolve. right here are the maximum not unusual ones and what to do after they appear. 

The compost pile is too wet:

this may appear in case you add too many vegetables, unfold an excessive amount of water on what you watched is dry compost, or rainwater receives in. 

To clear up the high moisture problem, add a few dry substances like cardboard, paper, twigs, dry leaves, hay, and so forth. turn the pile to unfold the dry content frivolously, and permit the air evaporate some of the water. 

The compost pile is simply too dry:

A dry compost pile slows down or stops decomposition. To get it rolling, spread a few water and flip the pile. make certain you get adequate water to make it damp however no longer soaked.

Your compost we could out an unpleasant odor:

This takes place when the content material is compacted, and decomposition turns anaerobic. Your excellent solution is to aerate the pile by turning it. you could insert pipes or sticks to allow air in and add bulky dry waste like twigs, cardboard, or timber portions to loosen the compost form.  

a way to cold compost

bloodless composting uses anaerobic microbes. They don’t need oxygen, so that you don’t want to turn the heap or do a lot compost management. You just form the pile in a appropriate region or a bin and permit nature do the rest. It nonetheless heats up, particularly during summer season, however the middle rarely exceeds 90°F.


✓ Low-maintenance.

✓ It’s easier to make a pile considering the fact that retaining the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio isn’t so essential.


✗ sluggish decomposition; takes at the least six months to greater than a year to supply finished compost.

✗ Pathogens and weed seeds stay within the finished compost.

✗ If now not included nicely ample, it smells.

What to add and not to feature in a cold compost bin

You’re the usage of the identical vegetables and browns which you might for decent composting (see above), without the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio is unimportant. just ensure you have got extra browns than veggies inside the pile.

With cold composting, it is paramount now not to feature weeds with seedheads or diseased plants because the cold composting system does now not have an effect on them, and they’ll still be there for your finished compost. 

how to make cold compost

cold compost is the maximum low-renovation approach, extremely good for novices to familiarize themselves with composting. 

gear and equipment:

  • Composting bin (non-compulsory) 
  • Shovel or rake
  • Tarp or cardboard
  • Watering can or lawn hose with a nozzle

Step 1: pick out a region in your bloodless composting system

Like for hot composting, the pile is best placed in the color, in an area with true drainage and much less exposed to flooding. 

A unfastened heap with no assisting structure is generally used in big yards. if you only have a small corner to fit a good quantity of waste, search for a compost bin to suit the gap or make one DIY. it’s going to maintain the materials tight in the space you have available.

you could also put waste in garbage bags and pile it up or dig a trench, placed the waste in, and cowl it with soil. 

Step two: start with a carbon-wealthy base

bloodless composting doesn’t have many policies. considered one of them says to continually begin with a brown, carbon-wealthy layer. It guarantees some aeration to start with and food for composting micro organism. 

Step three: Layer the organic waste

hold with a layer of vegetables, then alternate with browns like making a lasagna. 

Step 4: finish with a carbon-rich layer

It’s a easy symmetry to keep in mind: begin with browns, end with browns. Carbon-rich materials are dry and usually odorless, running like a protective layer in opposition to pests. 

Step five: cowl the compost

if you’re the use of a bin, near the lid. With an open pile, use a tarp or some cardboard to save you rainwater from draining at once into the combination and soaking it. With trench composting, this step isn’t always fundamental. simply ensure your trench is protected by means of a thick layer of soil. 

a way to accelerate bloodless composting

To help your cold compost pile decompose faster, follow these pointers:

maintain the compost effectively moist. when squeezed on your fingers, it should sense like a wrung-out sponge. 

cover the pile with a tarp to raise the inner temperature. 

upload some greater veggies or a herbal fertilizer rich in nitrogen. 

Chop, reduce, and shred the waste into smaller pieces that take much less time to decompose. 

flip the pile once a month. 

common cold composting troubles and the way to solve them

As we stated, cold composting could be very low-upkeep. capacity issues are pretty few and clean to remedy. See the most common troubles owners have with cold composting and a way to solve them beneath. 

The pile starts to scent

It’s in all likelihood too wet. upload a few dry substances to absorb the moisture and cowl the pile with a thick layer of carbon-wealthy materials. 

Pests are visiting your compost pile

There’s probably food waste left exposed that attracts them. find it and bury it deep inside the pile or cowl it with a thick layer of dry leaves, shredded cardboard, or paper. If pests are a non-stop trouble, stop including specially stinky food waste – meat, bones, dairy, eggs, and so forth – on your outside compost pile. 

the way to vermicompost

man or woman preserving a computer virus over a vermicompost bin

 because the call suggests, vermicomposting or worm composting makes use of worms to decompose organic matter. The most popular compost worms are pink wigglers (Eisenia fetida), also known as tiger worms and pink worms. other proper preferences are ecu nightcrawlers and Indian blue worms.

You feed the worms kitchen scraps. They devour and digest them and excrete computer virus castings, known as “black gold” or “garden gold.” They’re quite powerful, too – 2 kilos of worms can compost one pound of waste in 24 hours.


✓ Odorless.

✓ fit for indoor composting.

✓ top notch for composting kitchen waste.

✓ you’ve got get entry to to leachate, a effective liquid fertilizer released at some point of the composting manner. 


✗ requires weekly upkeep. 

✗ wishes a particular kind of bin. 

✗ You need special worms; earthworms out of your garden soil aren’t as effective. 

✗ Worms need protection from extreme warmth and bloodless. 

What to add and not to feature in your worm bin

Compost worms devour all types of natural count, from fruit and vegetable scraps to leaves, meat, and dairy products. but you need to avoid including of their bin acidic waste like citrus peels, onion, garlic, or vinegar.

a way to make worm compost

Vermicomposting is in most cases puppy care, and your pets are pink worms. You need to feed them nicely and maintain their domestic easy and secure. 

gear and gadget:

A worm compost bin. you may buy or build it DIY from buckets, rubbish cans, plastic garage containers, etc.

pink wigglers. You want about 1,000 worms or 1 pound for a 20-gallon box. 

bug bedding. pieces of cardboard and shredded paper are the maximum popular. you can also use peat moss, coco coir, or old compost.

Kitchen scraps to feed the worms.

Step 1: put together the worm bedding

add an 8-inch thick layer of trojan horse bedding to the bin and spray some water to present it a damp texture. Don’t wet it an excessive amount of. It shouldn’t be dripping however wet. Fluff it up and blend it with a few potting soil.

Step 2: Introduce the purple wigglers to the bin

placed the worms on the bedding, close the lid, and let them accept a few hours. 

Step three: Feed the worms

add a few meals scraps. begin with smaller amounts and upload extra step by step. A basic rule to keep in mind is usually to add meals solely when there’s almost nothing left from the remaining batch. Bury the kitchen waste in the bedding or cowl it with cardboard, shredded paper, and other browns.

Step 4: preserve the trojan horse bin

preserve the malicious program bin competently wet, aerated, and clear of insects like ants (come when the bedding is dry) or fruit flies (go to while the food is exposed or the bedding is too wet).

Step five: collect and use worm leachate

in case your bin offers this selection (it has a drainage field), accumulate the bug leachate and use it as fertilizer. mix 1 component leachate and a hundred elements water to keep away from stressing the flora with a concentrated liquid.

Step 6: Harvest the worm compost

accumulate the worm castings or compost by means of alternating the feeding aspect so one side of the bin is always clean of worms or with the aid of moving the worms to some other bin.

retaining rodents and flies away from your compost bin

To hold all forms of pests away from your compost bin, keep away from adding animal waste, like meat, bones, pores and skin, grease, oil, etc. They decompose slowly and let out smells that entice animals. 

if you need to use animal products for your compost, think about Bokashi composting. It’s a quick fermentation procedure that converts organic waste right into a pre-compost. Bokashi composting uses small containers that may be saved indoors and an activating answer that hastens the process. inspite of meat and bones, the pre-compost is straightforward to decompose later on in a classic composting bin or at once within the soil. 

food scraps and veggie peels can also entice pests if exposed. To hold the compost pile free of bugs and rodents, continually cover sparkling brought vegetables with a thick layer of dry materials (i.e. cardboard, dry leaves).

the way to use homemade compost in the lawn and lawn

Compost has so many uses which you not often have enough of it, in particular with a garden and a lawn on your care. here are the quality ways to gain from its nutrient-wealthy content and fantastic texture. 

Make compost tea 

The liquid structure, compost tea, is a supercharged fertilizer with more than one vitamins and beneficial micro organism and nematodes. It helps vegetation develop quicker, higher, and more resilient to sickness and pests, and you could use it for:

Fertilizing a no-until lawn. 

Amending soil regions mulched with straw, hay, or other substances wherein you could’t unfold solid compost as regularly as you’d like.

To make compost tea comply with this recipe:

Fill half of a bucket with compost from a matured compost pile. 

Fill the opposite 1/2 with water. Use dechlorinated water (rainwater, pond water, or faucet water set for twenty-four hours).

Stir with a stick each 8 hours or deploy a fish tank aerator.

put the lid on in among.

allow sit down for 48 hours in total.

Use a pleasant strainer to get a clean liquid for a foliar software. in case you unfold it at the soil, this step is not so essential.

spread as a mulch layer on plant beds

selfmade compost is excellent for mulching annual and perennial vegetation. spread a layer of compost three to six inches thick around the flowers, achieving out approximately 12 inches around to cowl the basis location. 

Used as mulch, compost comes with more than one benefits and is a gorgeous help for soil and flowers:

It releases quintessential vitamins like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and trace minerals.

It prevents erosion.

It moderates soil temperature.

It reduces crust at the soil surface, assisting with water absorption and airflow.

Use compost as topdressing in your lawn

you could unfold some compost for your garden, as topdressing, at any point throughout the year so long as the soil is not frozen. however you’ll get the satisfactory consequences in case you do it after lawn aeration and earlier than overseeding the lawn. 

it really works like a herbal fertilizer and facilitates seeds settle in the soil, germinate, and develop their roots deeper.

a terrific thanks to use compost on your garden is to purpose for a layer of ¼ to ½ inches thick. Take the compost with a wheelbarrow close to the garden and use a shovel to make some compost piles throughout the lawn. spread it with a rake and water it in.

Amend the lawn soil before planting a brand new crop

wealthy in natural depend, vitamins, and useful organisms like bacteria and nematodes, compost is a super herbal soil amendment. 

How do you operate it? 

observe a layer of finished compost over your garden beds two to four inches thick. Use a rake to make certain it’s uniformly unfold, then use a tiller to mix it into the 6 to 9 inches of soil. Rake the soil again to level it and put together for planting.

Make home made potting soil

Even indoor vegetation can advantage from compost! you could make your very own potting soil with a little garden soil and a bit compost. The lawn soil only desires compost to improve its texture and fertility, after which it’s prepared to develop some superb plant life. mix 70% to eighty% lawn dirt with 20% to 30% compost to get the nice soil in your indoor or out of doors potted flowers. 

FAQ approximately how to make compost

how to compost your grass clippings?

cut grass clippings short both via mowing often enough or by using a mulching mower. Smaller portions are less difficult to decompose. additionally, smaller grass clippings are less probably to clump in a mat and block airflow. 

To keep away from this, make sure you’re spreading the grass clippings in a skinny layer. Don’t upload grass that has been exposed to herbicides or insecticides or from a garden with flowering or seeding weeds in a chilly compost pile.

how to compost sawdust?

Sawdust can clump up whilst wet, so don’t upload it in massive amounts. unfold skinny layers over different varieties of organic substances like grass clippings, plant cuttings, hay, shredded paper, and many others.

am i able to add weeds to the compost?

if you’re the use of the recent composting technique, you can upload weeds. when the pile reaches 140 to a hundred and sixty°F, weed seeds are destroyed. Do not upload weeds to a cold compost pile. 

Do I want a bin for composting?

if you’re composting exterior, you don’t want a bin (even though it’s very beneficial). you can just pile up the waste and make some type of form that prevents it from tumbling down. in case you compost inner, you need a bin to hold eventual smells under control and accelerate decomposition.

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