Monday, June 9, 2008

First try at composting (using a bin) successful!

I'm gleefully reporting today that our family's composting efforts which began in earnest last summer and was unveiled about three weeks ago turned out to be a beautiful and actually not-so-stinky success! (I'll try to get the photo up tomorrow). At this very moment, it is nurturing the small garden we have out back as one of the lasagna layers (Ryan DeRose, Triple C Camp's Environmental Educator, gave me this idea - layer the garden using newspaper, raw compost, hay and soil).

Remember there are two parts to a good compost:

*Greens (grass, kitchen scraps but NOT meat or dairy, eggshells, coffee grounds) which contain a lot of nitrogen

*Browns (leaves, hay, napkins, paper towels, cut up newspaper) which contain carbon. Too much carbon will slow the decomposition process.

*Tips: Your pile should be damp but not wet. I used a bin I purchased from E-bay - not local, but the price was at least half of what I would have paid in town. It was nice because I just kept adding throughout the winter all of our kitchen scraps along with leaves from the yard.

One problem I had was that mine got a bit too wet, but no worries, I just added more leaves. I was a tad discouraged in February (in anticipation of the spring garden needs) when I checked and it still didn't look ready. So I temporarily stopped adding new organics and added compost accelerator from Paige at the Blue Ridge Eco-Shop and upped the number of times I was rotating it per week (which was uhhmmm whenever I remembered).

On Mother's Day my beloveds built my two garden boxes and we were good to go with homemade compost. So don't delay any longer, give it a try - you can do it!


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