Composting Step by Step
Carbon Scources: Dried Leaves, Straw, Wood Shavings, Pulled Weeds
Nitrogen Sources: Fresh Lawn Clipping, Manure, Food Matter, Veggie Clippings
1. Find a shady spot, perhaps underneath a tree. The tree will provide shade and keep your pile from drying out in the summer time. The tree will also prevent the pile from getting too wet when it rains. Loosen up the soil before you start building your pile.
2. Mark off a 3 ft by 3 ft by 3 ft area. A pile of these dimensions guarantees that your pile will reach the high temperatures necessary to quickly turn your food into compost. Layer the ground with sticks. Raising the pile slightly off the ground allows the pile to receive more air.
3. Alternate layering your pile with Carbon (brown and dry) and Nitrogen (green and juicy.)
4. Periodically turn your pile. When the pile has reached 3 ft by 3 ft by 3 ft or a size that is no longer manageable by you start a new pile. There is nothing else for you to do except wait until you are satisfied with your compost. The compost is finished when you are unable to distinguish the different components.
The backyard compost pile formula:
2 Carbon + 1 Nitrogen + Water + Oxygen + Microorganisms = COMPOST
2 Brown and Dry + 1 Green and Juicy + Water + Oxygen + Bugs = BLACK GOLD
Extra Composting Tips:
Make sure that you top your pile off with a layer of carbon such as hay. Covering the food scraps will prevent the attraction of rodents.Remember that it is best to have a 2:1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen. To prevent the pile from becoming anaerobic and getting smelly it is wise to turn the pile every once in a while. To turn the pile just take a pitch fork or a shovel and mix the pile around.To add moisture to the pile you can add juicy food to the pile. It may be necessary, however to moisten the pile with some water. Keep the pile moist like a sponge.
After Your Pile is Set Up
1. Set up a compost collection bin, perhaps in your kitchen, that works for yourself and your housemates.2. After collecting the food scraps, dump it on the pile and cover with a Carbon source.3. Use your compost for gardening and give it to your friends. If you do not have a garden or friends just return it to Mother Nature (throw it under a tree.)