Thursday, September 6, 2012


Composting organisms require four equally important things to work effectively:
  • Carbon — for energy; the microbial oxidation of carbon produces the heat, if included at suggested levels .
    • High carbon materials tend to be brown and dry.
  • Nitrogen — to grow and reproduce more organisms to oxidize the carbon.
    • High nitrogen materials tend to be green (or colorful, such as fruits and vegetables) and wet.
  • Oxygen — for oxidizing the carbon, the decomposition process.
  • Water — in the right amounts to maintain activity without causing anaerobic conditions.

In my yard I took 4 pallets I had left over from building the deck on the back of my house and nailed them together to make an open air composter and stuck it behind my yard barn in the corner of my yard, nice and out of the way. I left the bottom and top open, the bottom so worms could work their way into the compost bin and help speed up the composting process.

I try and have an equal mix of green matter and brown matter in my compost bin to get the right amount of carbon and nitrogen to use in my garden beds. In the open air compost it takes a little longer than some of the compost tumblers you see on the market, but mine didn't cost me a dime.

I try to avoid putting yard clippings that contain weeds, because eventually those weeds will end up where ever you use the compost. Also I never include any kinds of meats or dairy products in the compost. Ideally any plant material like grass clippings, leaves or leftover vegetables from the kitchen are good. Coffee grounds are another great thing to include in your compost for the "brown" part of composting, so if you want to be one of those people that goes to Starbucks and harass the employees for old coffee grounds have at it.

Eventually Applying the compost to the yard or your garden is a great way to improve the soil, it works as a natural fertilizer and it helps reduce waste.

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