COMPOSTING 101

Updated: Sep 4



Composting is easy to do at home, and super beneficial for a home gardener and sustainable home.


Some benefits include: convenient use of food scraps, nutritious mulch for fertile soil and easy physical activity to do at home.


All you need to do is choose a spot in your yard that gets light but not direct sunlight, and is somewhat sheltered from the rain.


For the purpose of this post I will be using the suggestions and tips we do in our composting practice.


However, there are SO many types of composting- like entire books and websites dedicating to the art of composting. So this is inspirational, because for the most part if you can understand the basics of how plants break down, you can master your own version of composting to suit your needs.




Before I met Brian, he built the lattice set up we have now, I simply dug a hole 1 foot deep into the ground of my backyard and began layering food scraps with trimmings from my garden.


LAYERING


For optimal compost break-down, we need to balance CARBON & NITROGEN.


Commonly referred to as a ratio of BROWN to GREEN.


The ratio is said to be optimal at 30:1 (C:N).

This is easily achieved with awareness, layering and stirring the compost pile.


Fresh plants are referred to as green because they have nitrogen when they are still alive. With time after a plant dies, nitrogen content fades and they turn brown, therefore instead bringing carbon to the mix.


Types of BROWN / CARBON- dried grass, dried leaves, wood chips, kraft paper, ash from fire pit or charcoal BBQ, pine needles.


Types of GREEN / NITROGEN- food scraps, egg shells, peels from veggies, fruits, stalks and grass clippings, weeds from the garden, coffee & tea grounds. We also put cleaned bones, animal food scraps, and birds/mice our cat hunted.


Now I wrote above a ratio of 30:1, however it is tough to keep things perfect all the time. If you drink coffee, eat veggies and fruits frequently, the supply of green is constant, versus the supply of brown can be intermittent.


Think ahead

What do I mean by this? Well brown is super easy to have in the fall- leaves are falling everywhere, garden cleanup is on the go and a bunch of plants are at the end of their lifestyle.


So generally to ensure I always have a constant supply of brown to balance out my compost pile, I gather and keep as many leaf bags as I can in Autumn.


For example: I sweep up all the leaves from the local big trees and venture down my street to pick up leaf bags from peoples driveways. I store the leaves in a