Sunday, August 17, 2008

Compost: Take 2

My husband and I took turns digging out the compost bin. The rich black soil was riddled with roots from the nearby bush and tree. I added a wheelbarrow full of compost to the pumpkin patch. I mixed it in pulling out some chunks to go back into the compost bin. The pumpkins have a few grape tomato plants growing amongst them from the compost.

The lessons learned are 1) turn the pile more often, 2) to chop up what goes into the bin for faster decomposition, and 3) to have a better mix of brown and green materials. If we turn the pile more often the roots won’t have a chance to get so well established. It will also allow better air flow so the little micros can get the oxygen they need to do their thing. If we chop up the stuff into smaller pieces there will be more surface for the little micros, ants, worms and such to work on. It will break down into rich soil faster. If we have a better balance of brown materials (dry leaves, news print) and green materials (green leaves, fruits, vegetables, etc) the air flow around the material should be better and an optimum temperature should be maintained which would then better support the micro biotic life and neutralize the seeds. I’m now shredding the news papers and some of the junk mail which is on similar paper. I’m mixing it into the compost trash can in the kitchen. I’m hoping this will help absorb some of the excess moisture so there is less to clean out of the bottom of the can. The biodegradable compost bags usually work well but if a spot gets too soggy it starts decomposing a little too quickly. The news print should help with that along with adding some brown material to the bin. A side affect is a neater looking trash can.

Hopefully we’ll have better compost faster. If not, we’ll learn a few more lessons to get it right the next try.

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