Compost

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Got compost?  You have to start composting.  Even if you don’t garden stop wrapping your kitchen scraps in plastic to be buried for 1,000 years in some landfill.  Collect your scraps and dump them in the woods.  Stop paying to have your leaves dragged away by the town.  Dump them in a pile in your yard.

Happy compost

Happy compost thanks to Google Images

And if you do garden, you can’t be successful at it if you don’t compost.  Compost is gold.  You can’t have too much compost.  If you garden please start trending away from water soluble fertilizers and move to organic fertilizers.  You can spend a ton of dough on fancy composting bins, but you don’t need to.

Compost is just decayed organic matter and composting is basically just piling all of your organic matter up and allowing it to decompose.  Bacteria and other creatures work their magic by breaking leaves, grass and lettuce down.

What you basically do is a make bins to hold your organic waste like grass clippings, kitchen scraps, prunings and leaves.  I have three bins.  One bin is almost done compost and ready to be spread on the garden, one bin is about halfway through composting and then I have another bin for fresh organic matter.  To collect kitchen scraps like eggshells, coffee grounds, seafood shells, carrot peels and scraps from making salads we always have a plastic bag from the grocery store on the counter.  Other people use a little rubbermaid or tupperware container.  One bin is made from three pallets that are tied together with wire to make up three sides of the bin.

Compost bin made from pallets

Compost bin made from pallets thanks to Google Images

My other two bins are made from chicken wire wrapped around metal posts.

Compost bin made from chicken wire

Compost bin made from chicken wire thanks to Google Images

Then you pile everything up in your compost bin.  All of your leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps go into a pile and over time it all decomposes into beautiful compost/soil.

scraps - thanks to wikipedia

scraps - thanks to wikipedia

You can see this is the beginning of compost.  You can see leaves and other large chunks of stuff.

The best way to make compost is to layer materials.  First understand, that there is nitrogen material (green stuff) and carbon material (brown stuff).  You want to have much more brown stuff than green stuff in your pile.  A ratio of 20:1 or 25:1 of browns to greens works best.

So as we all know compost happens.  Over time organic matter left alone will decompose.  Just look at the floor of the forest.  So how to speed it up.

Compost needs five things – browns, greens, bacteria/creatures, air and water.  I start by putting some branches in the bottom of the pile to let air circulate from the bottom.  Then I start piling in grass clippings, leaves that I raked and scraps from the kitchen.  You can end it here.

If you want to speed it up I also shovel in a thin layer of garden soil.  Because oak leaves have a lot of acid in them I also add a layer of crushed limestone to the pile.  Finally, to really get things cooking I put in a few shakes of 10-10-10 all purpose organic fertilizer.  If you get everything just right your compost pile will start to “cook” and the internal temperature of it can get to over 100 degrees.  At real high temps the heat can kill weed seeds and plant pathogens.

Cooking compost heap - thanks to Wikipedia

Cooking compost heap - thanks to Wikipedia

This heap is really cooking.  To get a pile really hot though it needs to be a good size, probably over four feet tall  and four feet wide.

You also want your piles to be moist, but not wet.  I think the piles should feel like a damp sponge.  If it gets too dry give it some water.  Maybe build a depression in the top of the pile to collect rainfall.  Sometimes I put a metal post down through the center of the pile and spin it around to make a hole going down through the center of the pile so water can get to the inside of the pile.

I also like to turn my pile over every once in a while.  Every time you turn it, the turning moves the stuff from the outside of the pile to the inside and stuff on the inside of the pile to the outside.  Then the heap will start to cook anew.

finished compost - thanks to Wikipedia

finished compost - thanks to Wikipedia

Some good resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composting

http://www.compostguide.com/

http://www.wikihow.com/Compost

My pics from the woods-

Crab apples

Crab apples

These are edible, but they may be too tart to be palatable to you.  I guess it all depends how hungry you are.  They do have a lot of pectin so you can make great jam or jelly from them.  Boil them strain them and sugar them.  As you can see there are gobs of them.

Coyote crap

Coyote crap

And this is coyote crap, I think.  You can tell it’s not domestic dog crap by the way it looks.  Looks pretty fresh, huh?  You  can tell that this beast eats different stuff than Alpo.

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5 Responses to “Compost”

  1. Survivalist News » Abraham’s Blog: Compost Says:

    […] Compost « Abraham’s Blog Got compost? You have to start composting. Even if you don’t garden stop wrapping your kitchen scraps in plastic to be buried for 1,000 years in some landfill. Collect your scraps and dump them in the woods. Stop paying to have your leaves dragged away by the town. Dump them in a pile in your yard. […]

  2. comrade simba Says:

    Here’s another jewel – the paper bin. We’ve been tossing all our trash paper into a 6 foot diameter chicken wire pen for years – paper, cardboard, anything that isn’t encased in plastic. The pen fills up about halfway pretty quick, but then the bacteria and worms begin feasting and the heap never gets full. It just… goes away.

  3. Maggi B Says:

    Nice info & pics about composting. I may be wrong, but your pic labeled ‘crab apples’ may in fact be fuyu persimmons on a tree late in the season. I had one in my yard and that’s exactly what they look like when the tree loses it’s leaves. Thanks for the info!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    people should start using composts

  5. Neil M Thuresson Says:

    compost bins in third world countries? ideas?

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