Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Compost made easy

Over the years of puttering in my garden, I have read many book and articles about composting.  Some books require you to have a college degree in Science to understand what they are referring to, some articles don't give any information and leaf you guessing just how to make compost.  So I have sorta come up with my own equation.  If you are a math major, please don't leaf me a comment about the numbers not making sense, or if you are a Biologist, I'm sure I am not using the correct terminology, but to this ole farm gal it makes perfect sense and also perfect compost.


1/3 DRY/BROWN INGREDIENTS/ CARBON  (weigh less per volume than greens)
1/3  WET/GREEN INGREDIENTS/ NITROGEN  ( weigh more per volume than dry)
1/3 GARDEN SOIL, add in a little finished compost for good MEASURE and of course a shovel of dry manure sprinkled over the soil

OR flip the numbers; 3/1 ratio (3x's) the amount of  dry ingredients to the wet, 3/1 ratio (3x's) amount  wet ingredients to the soil amount.   This will result in about a CARBON/NITROGEN ratio of  30/1.  Which is perfect ( for us non-perfectionists) for great compost.

Here are some suggestions of items to use:

                                                   the simple way I make compost.

1. Place some sticks or corn cobs on the bottom.  Place dry ingredients (about a 6" layer) over sticks-- this allows for good air flow.

2.  Place green (about a 2 " layer) ingredients over dry.

3.  Shovel dirt, manure, and soil over top.  Repeat layers until your pile is at least 3 feet square.

                                                         Easy as 1 to 3!
keep moist and turn the pile every few weeks

click here form more information

a note about tree leaves:  
 if using tree leaves as part of your dry ingredients only use the leaves from 
ash, cottonwood, cherry, elm, linden, maple, popular, willow
these varieties are much richer in nitrogen and calcium
than other leaves

Make leaf mold  in the fall by placing your leaves in a big black garbage bag, adding a little water to moisten the leaves.  Tie the top shut and throw in a corner or an out of the way place in your garden.  Leaf them for 2 years to rot; apply to your garden as a mulch or till them into the soil before planting.  If you run over your leaves lying on the grass with a lawn mower, catching them in the attachable grass clipping bag,  transfer and store the mixture of grass and leaves in a garbage bag, (do not add water) the nitrogen in the grass will speed up the process and in a year it should be ready for use.  If they get slimey and smelly, dump them in your compost pile and cover with a thin layer of dirt.  The air flow should take care of the problem.

Compost can be added to your gardens before planting or as a mulch.  I generally till it into the soil so the plants will draw in the nutrients it provides.  When the plants are up, I apply a dry/carbon (straw or old hay) as a  thick mulch that is left to break down over the winter and tilled in the following spring.

Happy belated EARTH DAY!
Did you do- or not do- something that will make a difference?

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