What exactly is COMPOST?
Compost is the controlled decomposition of organic matter. As landfills are filling at an alarming rate, the world is finally prepared (at least interested) in recycling via composting. On a larger scale, composting readily degradable material that may otherwise enter our already full landfills is helping to reduce the amount of harmful greenhouse gasses. On a smaller, more personal note, we personally have found that we can almost eliminate our regular "trash" when we are diligent with recycling and composting. However, you should know that composting is more than just raking your leaves in a pile and leaving them to rot. Like most things that occur naturally, there is still a science involved and what you add to your compost pile will determine completely if you fail or succeed. The size should be a happy medium of 3X3 to 5X5, giving you compost in 2-3 months of hot summer time. You will have to introduce yourself to the microorganisms that will be hard at work for you in your pile. They need air and water to break down the materials you add into dark, rich compost. Turn your pile regularly with a pitch fork or big stick and keep it about as damp as a wrung-out sponge. The hotter it gets, the more it will need your attention as it will start working at a much faster pace. Your ratio for adding to your pile should be 2:1....2 parts brown, 1 part green material. Layer the browns and greens (listed below), keep turned & moist and you are on your way to making your own economical, earth~friendly, organic fertilizer chalk of full of microorganisms. By returning these little microorganisms to the earth, you will be improving your soil, growing healthier plants and making the world a better place!
Big Tip: Don't overload your pile with fall leaves. While these are beneficial to you, chop them up instead with the mower and use them as mulch in your beds ~ especially during the winter months.
Examples of "BROWNS"
twigs (break them up)
discarded potting soil
Examples of "GREENS"
thin layers of grass clippings
veggie leaves and stalks
coffee grounds (worms LOVE their coffee)
Never add meat, dairy, poultry, pet poo (although farm animal poo is cool), evergreen leaves, weeds, diseased or treated plant material.
Extra goodness for you:
Espoma makes a Compost Excelerator. I plan on trying this in our bin.
And, while you are recycling in your garden.... Try using 16 layers of wet newspaper around your roses with a healthy scope of mulch on top for weed control and protection from soil splashing. Roses are not real friendly when soil splashes up on them.
"A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself." ~ F.D.R.