A Garden’s Black Gold: Compost

There’s not much to remember when composting. I have a simple recipe that works for me: 4 parts Brown, 1 part Green, but let’s defer to the Master Gardener Association of which I am a proud member.

Backyard Leaf Composting

Definition: the microbial decomposition of organic matter. (Still with me?)

The Pile4′ X 3′ to maintain adequate temperatures for rapid decomposition. The maximum size should be 5′ X 10′–any larger and the interior will not obtain the oxygen needed for adequate, odor-free decomposition (important if neighbors are close by.)

Containing the Pile: For an enclosure use cement blocks, lumber treated  with wood preservatives, or metal snow fence posts. (How about one big heap in the corner of your yard!)

Constructing the Pile: Many instruction sheets recommend doing layers but it is found to be unnecessary. Vegetables, dry grass, and leaf clippings are added with adequate moisture if dry.

Turning the Pile: It is necessary to turn the pile periodically to shift the materials and to incorporate oxygen. (Rutgers Cooperative and Research Extension Center, Fact Sheet FS074, Dec. 1991)

But . . . if you are a lazy composter like me, forget everything above except my simple recipe in the first paragraph!

©Teresita Abad Doebley All rights reserved 2009-2011.


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