Sunday, June 24, 2012

Black gold, here we come!!

As it turns out, I think I have found a successful combination for my compost bin.  My grass clippings, and woody yard debris, are rapidly decomposing into what appears to be the first signs of healthy compost.  It's not done, but it's *well* on it's way.  The smell is right, there are no flies or spiders, and it's slowly turning into a dark, rich, earthy aromatic pile of soil goodness!


I'm happy with my choice to use just grass clippings and woody yard debris.

I had spent a good deal of time reading up on the perfect compost contents, but in the end, food scraps would be a fly attractant, and, of course, that would bring other critters that would not facilitate decomposition, but rather pest annoyances.

I had started with about 90% grass clippings (nitrogen).  I then happened upon a simple and straight forward site.  The author said, "woody debris (carbon), and nothing else, provided air and water are managed appropriately in the pile, will eventually break down, just not as fast, but a pile heavy in nitrogen will not."  So, I added a lot of woody debris to my pile.  I think it ended up being about 60% nitrogen and 40% carbon, or at least that is my best guess.  I also added the ashes from the burn pile.

Given where I live (very dry), and the frequency with which we turn it, it's progressing faster than I anticipated.  It's pretty clear we have made a fairly happy place for our organisms to go to work, and that's what it appears they are doing.

Would my combination work for everyone?  I have no clue.  This is my first composting adventure, but given the current rate of success, I would say it's been very productive, and while far from complete, it's moving in the right direction, and it promises to make for some fun planting next spring!

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