Friday, May 8, 2009

Composting: It's a Process

Our composting has begun but, I must say, it's not the magical experience I've been reading about on blogs.

a) it does smell
b) we have LOTS of flies

I am now realizing that all of the blogging about how great composting is...the nature of it all...reminds me of what we read about breast-feeding. "Oh, the intense bond", "it's natural", "it's healthy", "it's so easy"... Breast-feeding was certainly NOT easy. At least, in the beginning. And I guess once we all figured out what we were doing, it became easy..ish... I'm hoping for the same results with composting!

MY PROBLEMS (and possible solutions):

  • a) The Smell. I remembered from what I read, I need a good mix of greens & browns. The pile was mostly appropriate food waste and it just looked like it needed some dry leafy matter. I mixed in some already decomposing leaves, and sort of cut everything up into smaller bits and the smell was gone in a couple of hours.

  • b) The Flies. After I added the brown matter, mixed the pile, I covered it with a kitchen garbage bag. It's a temporary solution but it worked!

  • c) I have no heat from my heap! When I hold my hand close to the pile...nada, nothing, zilch. I believe I need green matter, specifically lawn waste. The coolness of my pile makes complete sense given that I haven't mowed the lawn in three weeks! Oh boy do I have a chore ahead of me tomorrow. I dropped the push mower at the shop to get the blades sharpened so, with any luck, my pile will be nice and hot by Tuesday.

  • d) The refuse from my huge clearing! After reading Margaret Roach's column about how she effectively chopped down her HUGE compost pile of sticks, leaves, and branches I'm going to give that a go this weekend as well. I have the space to build a pile dedicated to the batch of stuff. Might as well see what happens.

  • (NOTE: This photo shows one of the two piles of refuse I'm going to try to compost. There's plenty of aggressive, strong, down-right mean bouganvillea branches in there. I suspect they won't breakdown at all and will thousands of years from now be harvested as weapons of war. )

1 comment:

  1. I have a compost answer for you! :0) I was just reading Rodale Organic Gardening Solutions (definitely a good tool for starting backyard gardening) and they mentioned this as a good compost "recipe":

    1 part grass clippings
    1 part garden residues
    3 parts leaves
    2 parts manure (including bedding material)

    Check on craigslist's "free" section and you may be able to find manure there. Grass clippings will definitely jump start the heat in your pile. Also make sure it gets enough water and oxygen by turning it regularly and watering it regularly.

    PS. Make sure to not put oils in the pile (you may already know this), egg shells can go in but make sure to rinse them first.