Yowbarb - SURVIVING the CHANGES > Surviving in Place

Composting

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augonit:
I don't know if this subject has been a topic before, but I thought we should all start composting, and learn to compost.  I love composting!  While I'm not an expert, I do love the benefits this natural method provides to the garden.  (And I like to think my garden loves it too!)

errrv:
Augonit, can you tell me a little about composting?

augonit:
I have a plastic bin for composting, (it was designed for composting).  I usually just add all kitchen scraps ---no meat, fat, oils or bones, yard waste like leaves, grass clippings, stuff like that into my bin.  I've found twigs, or small branches don't decompose even over a year of waiting, so I rarely add those.  Anyway, I try to do a 50-50 mix of brown stuff, like dead leaves, and green stuff, like garden scraps, etc into the bin.  I try not to add things like weeds that have gone to seed since those seeds will eventually show up in your gardens.

It is important to keep your compost pile damp.  Sometimes I just take the lid off when it's raining.  But I add a little water when I add new scraps.  It's also important to mix your compost pile occasionally.  I do it about once a month, although every two weeks would also be fine.

I measure the quality of my compost by the smell.  Mine usually smells earthy, sweet.  That's good.  Any foul or odd odors would indicate a problem.  I also try to notice, if I can, how many worms are in my pile.  Worms are a sign of good soil and compost.  I will add worms from my garden at the beginning of my composting season to help with the breakdown, plus you get all that lovely worm castings.

You can add blood meal to give your compost a kick start if you want.  I've tried it, but I didn't see any difference in the time of decomposting.  I harvest my compost in early spring to add to my gardens before planting, and also after my gardens are finished for the year so the compost will sit in the ground over the winter.   I'm by no way an expert on composting, but I hope this will help you a little.

augonit:
I forgot to mention that you need air flow and heat to help in the decomposing.  My bin has slots in it for air and it's plastic, so I don't have to worry about keeping it warm enough.  Sorry I forgot that.

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