Friday, July 6, 2012

Composting

We've had a compost pile for many years but I'm not sure we're doing it right. I don't turn it and I never see it "hot". Still it generates good looking soil - but with a twist. Since the mix does not reach 120-150 F, it doesn't kill the seeds of weeds or vegetables tossed in.  When I used compost on an onion garden we got a lovely crop of tomato plants instead.

Here's some advice from composting websites...
http://www.howdogardener.com/composting-101.html

Composting requires four ingredients:

I. Green Materials for Nitrogen
Grass clippings, Fruit & vegetable scraps and trimmings, Coffee grounds
Used tea bags, Cow, horse, or poultry manure

II. Brown Materials for Carbon
Dry brown leaves, Shredded newspaper, Wood chips, Sawdust

III. Water
You want the pile damp like a sponge, but not soaking wet.

IV. Air
About 30% of the total initial volume of your compost pile should be air space.

http://eartheasy.com/grow_compost.html This site has a nice list of what to compost and how. It discourages banana peelings because the skin might contain pesticides. Add grass and sawdust in thin layers to avoid clumping. Use pine needles in moderation because they are very acidic.

All sites agree on the following:

Do not compost meats or fats or pet droppings
Don't compost diseased plants

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