Friday, June 3, 2011

Composting 101

In order to have successful compost pile you need 4 things: Nitrogen, Carbon, Air and Water
Carbon: This is found in things like Leaves, shrub pruning, wood ash and news paper.
Nitrogen: This comes from adding fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings and coffee grounds.  
Hint: Do not put meat, dairy products, fats or oils in your compost. These items will not decompose properly, smell and attract unwanted pest.
Air: The compost will need to get oxygen. This is why turning the pile is so important. When you turn the pile it helps to loosen it allowing air to get to the pile.  You can also get air by adding bulky items such as twigs and sticks. This will keep the pile from compressing and restricting airflow.  Whatever you are using to house your compost pile should also provide for a good flow of air.
Water: For successful compost your pile it will need to be kept moist but not so wet that you can squeeze water from it. A good time to check the moisture level of the compost is when you are turning the pile.  If it is a little dry add some water t. If it is too moist give it a few extra turns and turn it a few days in a row to help it dry out.
Last night when Jeremy turned the compost, he noticed that it was a little dry and added some water.
Carbon + Nitrogen + Air + Water = Successful Compost
That’s it…. pretty simple!
Update on our compost challenge, Day 3.
Below is a picture of our pile after turning it today. Things seem to decomposing pretty quickly and the temperature of the pile is really heating up which is a good sign. If you look closely you will see part of a cardboard 18pack egg container that was in one piece on the first day.