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GYG-096 Composting Made Simple

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Before I get started on Composting, here is a video that explains the balance needed for hot composting, and does it very well.

Compost if one of the most important ingredients to add to your vegetable garden. It adds nutrient back to the soil, and can reduce garbage otherwise sent to the landfill.compost-pile

But to many it’s a complicated process with “browns”, “greens”, ratios, hot compost, cold compost etc.

I hope to help you clear the subject a bit so you can get started making your own compost.

Successful composting needs 4 things:
1.Greens
2.Browns
3.Air
4.Water

“Green” or “Brown” does not refer to the color. Refers to the Carbon:Nitrogen Ratio. Those highest in Nitrogen are called “Greens”. Higher in Carbon called Browns.

Greens
•Grass Clippings
•Vegetable trimmings
•Animal Manures ( well composted)
•Tea Bags, coffee grounds
•Old Flower Bouquets

Browns
•Straw
•sawdust
•wood shavings
•branches

Start Keeping Kitchen Scraps, Lawn Trimmings for your compost pile.  You can find compost pails with odor filters online, or if you prefer, keep a big box store 5 gal bucket with lid outside your kitchen door, emptying it to your pile when possible.  I have found it is best to keep your pile as near to your garden as possible as you will have a lot to add to the pile from the garden throughout the season.
Bowl on the counter or bucket on the porch

Types of composting

Hot Compost
Balance the browns ( carbon materials) to the Greens ( Nitrogen material to get roughly a 30:1 mixture
When starting out in sometimes help to have a “recipe” of sorts for fast hot compost.

Example Compost recipe:

  • 3 parts fresh grass clippings
  • 1 part kitchen scraps
  • 1 part damp straw

Prepare the materials: cut chunky materials like melon rinds into roughly 1” chunks for faster decomposition.

Manage the moisture. keep a hose nearby to keep the pile moist

Be sure to frequently turn the mixture with a garden fork or pitchfork. Check internal temp with a compost thermometer, adding water or a nitrogen booster like grass clippings or high protein meal like Soybean or cottonseed meal.  These are inexpensive and organic.

Finish and Cure
When no longer warm, it should be ready to use.

Cold Compost
Can sometimes be better than hot compost as it doesn’t kill of some of the beneficial organisms that are so important to our soil.
Slow but less labor intensive – a year or more
Build in Some Balance
Plan for passive aeration
Build a healthy heap
Patient, not absent
Turn when mood strikes

Types of Compost Piles

For an excellent tutorial on composting including the different types of bins, download the free Composting Book at – http://centrecountyrecycles.org/Pdf%20Files/composr.pdf

 

Types of Compost bins/Piles to consider:

  1. Piles
  2. Wire Bins
  3. Commercial Tumblers
  4. Traditional 3 Bin Systen

 

 

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Raul June 6, 2013, 3:01 pm

    I guess that I am performing the cold compost method. I am using the straw and goat manure mucked out of my barn. This, mixed with kitchen scraps, I keep in a heap pile next to my iron pipe fence. Hmmm…I think I need to give it another turn. It’s been a couple of weeks…

    • Steve June 7, 2013, 8:56 pm

      Yes, it does sound like yoou’re cold composting. It will work fine, just takes longer. Be sure to turn it and keep it watered.

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