notes from the garden
October 15th, 2009
We all know composting is a good thing. Â We are reducing the amount of waste we send to the landfill by almost one-third, making free fertilizer for our garden so we have healthier plants, and watching as the cycle of life works its wonder. Â However, it seems like some people are afraid to try it, or stick with it. Â So here are a few tips to help you become a better composter.
- To ensure that your compost will decompose quickly, keep your pile in direct sunlight.Â Decomposition is fastest between 120 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.Â Piles will decompose at cooler temperatures, though it will take much longer.
- When possible, break down or shred your materials.Â This will help to speed up the decomposition process.
- Donâ€™t let your compost become too wet or dry.Â If the pile is too wet, add some wood chips to help absorb the excess water.Â If the pile is too dry, materials will not break down properly; add water a little at a time.Â The appropriate moisture level in a compost pile is that of a wrung-out sponge.Â Squeeze a handful to check the moisture level of your compost.
- Finished compost should smell earthy and look and feel like rich, dark soil.Â The volume of the cured compost will be less than half of what your started with, but will be much more dense.
- Does your compost pile have an unpleasant odor?Â Try turning it with a pitch fork to create air spaces that will limit the anaerobic (smothering) microbes and stimulate the aerobic (oxygen creating) microbe activity.Â If that doesnâ€™t work, you may have too much in the way of nitrogen-rich (green) material.Â If thatâ€™s the case, try turning in some carbon-rich (brown) material such as dry leaves, pine needles or straw.
Let Kinghorn Gardens help you compost, we can build a custom compost bin specifically suited for your site!
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