On the Garden Path: Composting Part II

Composting: Agood way to increase garden productivity - Part II


| April 2006


A 3-feet-square compost pile is large enough to hold heat, but small enough to admit air. If a large pile is needed, build one that is 5 feet tall by 5 feet wide by any length.

Because microorganisms can only use molecules dissolved in water, moisture content should be 40 percent to 60 percent. The material should feel damp to the touch, with just a drop or two of water if squeezed.

To begin a compost pile, start with a 4- to 6-inch layer of chopped brush or coarse material. This allows air circulation under the pile. Next, add a 3- to 4-inch layer of damp organic material, such as low-carbon grass clippings. The next layer should be 4 to 6 inches of high-carbon organic material, such as dampened leaves or garden waste. Add an inch of garden soil or finished compost, which introduces microorganisms to break down organic matter. Mix the layers before adding more to the pile, to ensure speedy and even composting. Repeat the layering process until the bin is full.

A passive compost pile requires no additional maintenance. However, an active pile means the pile must be turned and water must be added to maintain conditions conducive to composting.



For an active compost pile, loosen materials and overturn them weekly. Sides should be moved to center, and the bottom layers should be moved to the top. Check the moisture content, and add water if necessary.

When the pile cools in temperature, decreasing in size to about one-third of the original volume and becoming dark and crumbly with an earthy odor, it's ready to use. Don't add partially decomposed materials; this can reduce the nitrogen available to plants.







mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE









Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at Grit.com — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265