Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Lauren: The Hard Truth about Composting May 20, 2013

Filed under: Gardens & Compost — lkcook20 @ 7:37 pm
Tags: , ,

I’m not going to lie; I recently took a free class on composting so I could get the $25 compost bin they offer only to people who enroll. But I learned some things as well–mostly that I am too lazy when it comes to my compost. It’s a good thing the class was free. I’d hate to pay money to find out that I need to get off my bottom and do some work. 

Here are my 3 Big Take-Away Tips:

1. Your compost should be moist. So if you own one of those black tumblers like this:

the aeration holes are more for air than rain so you will actually have to water the compost, probably once a week in spring and fall and twice a week in the summer. 

2. You have to turn your compost. Again, once a week in the spring/fall and twice a week in the summer is a good rule of thumb. A compost aerator

is a nifty tool that helps with turning. It works better than a pitch fork or a shovel. It might be worth the $25 investment. Because then maybe you will actually turn the compost. Possibly. 

3. The ratio of green/wet to brown/dry is important. (See Sarah’s previous post for an explanation of green and brown matter.) Most experts recommend a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of brown to green.

We were really good at putting our banana peels in the compost but not as good at adding leaves or newspaper. The instructor of the class explained that she keeps a bag of leaves next to her compost bin and every time she throws in some kitchen scraps, she adds three times that amount of leaves. This insures her ratio is always 3:1. I didn’t save enough leaves to do that, but I have been cutting up some newspaper and adding it.

Note: if adding newspaper, make sure it is printed with vegetable dye.

I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to listen to a nice woman in a bohemian dress tell me I’m essentially being too lazy if it helps me get more of that “black gold” faster!

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