The Ins and Outs of Composting

I spent a lot of time reading about composting and here are many of the questions I found myself asking these troubleshooting questions:

WHAT GOES IN- coffee grounds, old cotton, silk, wool clothing, egg shells, hair and nail clippings, tea bags, vacuum dust, fruit and veg waste, cardboard packaging, cards, shredded paper, TP rolls, PT rolls, tissues, kitchen towels, wrapping paper, waxed paper

LEAVE OUT- litter, , dairy, diapers, fish, meat, oils, fats, laminated cardboard, large amounts of newspaper or phone books, magazines

SMELLY? If your compost smells bad, it’s because it is anaerobic (not enough air) because there is ammonia and hydrogen sulfide.  Add paper or cardboard!  A general rule is 3:1; 3 parts soft green stuff to 1 part woody stuff=perfection 🙂

WOODY STUFF? That’s right.  You can add low nitrogen waste, such as cherry, elm, hawthorn, maple, or rose leaves.   NO pine needles.

MOISTURE- The ideal H2O content is 50-60% weight.  If you take a handful from the center of your pile and squeeze a few drops out, that’s perfect!  If you have too much water, add paper or cardboard.

WHERE DO I PUT MY BIN? Leave a small container under your sink or any place that will be convenient for you to continue using.  Throw all of your waste in it and when it’s full dump it into your bin. 

Keep your bin outside in a sunny sheltered spot.  The heat will help the bacteria and wiggly guys break everything down quickly.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE- If you are using an active compost (mine) it will only take a few weeks.  If you choose to do a passive compost bin (no wigglers) it will take 6 months to 1 year.

NOTHING HAPPENING- Your bin is probably too dry.  Try watering your pile and add more nitrogen rich material, like lawn clippings, weeds and kitchen waste.

IDEA- Rather than throwing your old car tires away, stack all four and use it as your bin!

Use your compost everywhere!  You can never use too much of it considering how many nutrients it provides your plants with.

Here are more resources in case you are ready to dive in!

http://www.digitalseed.com/composter/index.html

http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/

http://www.organicgardening.com/

http://www.rhs.org.uk/

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