Falling For Composting – Part 2 of 2

Regina shares her composting recipe with us so that we can help create our own Black Gold. The to-do’s and the don’ts of what goes into your compost. Yes! Composting in your kitchen made simple. Kind of reminds me of Ruth Stout, a 90 year old gardener that would kick dirt over her potatoes and feel certain that her garden would reap what she sowed.  The dirt was back gold.Composting Leaves For Breast Cancer

By Regina M. Dlugokencky: Garden Coach
Recipe for Success
What will go into the mix are simply two types of materials composed of nitrogen (greens) and carbon (browns). Layer these up as you go. By shooting for a Carbon to Nitrogen ratio of 30:1 youʼll be providing your micro-herds the right food in the right balance to break down organic matter. There are many great resources on what can be composted and what canʼt, but here is a quick rundown of them. Remember to keep your pile moist like a wrung out sponge and youʼll be on your way!

Do Compost:

  • Brown Matter or Green Matter
  • Leaves, straw (not hay!)
  • Grass Clippings
  • Brown Paper, Paper rolls, newspapers
  • Vegetable + Fruit trimmings
  • Spent Potting mix or soil
  • Coffee Grinds/Tea Bags
  • Crushed Egg shells

Donʼt Compost:

  • Aluminum, tin or other metal
  • Glass
  • Dairy products (butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) & eggs
  • Fats, grease, lard, or oils
  • Greasy or oily foods
  • Meat or seafood scraps
  • Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)
  • Soiled diapers
  • Plastic
  • Stickers from fruits or vegetables (to prevent litter)
  • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs
  • Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides
  • Roots of perennial weeds
  • Coal or charcoal ash
  • Fire starter logs
  • Treated or painted wood

Rather than making numerous trips out to the compost to dispose of your kitchen scraps, there are many styles of compost containers that let you build up a stash for a week or so. Choose one that you can easily fit under your sink, or one you wouldnʼt mind on your counter and youʼll be set to begin collecting.

A well-balanced compost pile with sufficient airflow through will be odorless and the resulting finished compost will be soil-like in texture with an aroma of good earth.Gimmie Shelter For Breast Cancer Composting

Leave ʻem There
Before you run out and get your hands dirty, I must make this last appeal. Have you ever stepped into a woodland setting and wondered why these natural places are so lush with plants and life? Once we acknowledge that no “gardener” weeds, waters or fertilizes, we are naturally left to wonder how this happens?

Hereʼs how: leaves, those awesome solar energy collectors are full of nutrients, and are dropping to the ground right about now serve as wonderful mulch to the trees and shrubs that they once adorned. Besides insulating root systems from winter chill, fallen leaves temper both high and low temper extremes and also maintain a level of moisture, and the thicker the mulch, the better protection. Like all things once living, when the leaves come into contact with the soil (and its attendant micro-herds), they begin to decompose and release nutrients back into the soil, creating truly fertile ground for the root system to re-uptake when the Treeʼs winter slumber is over. Simply put, leaves are natureʼs blanket and are a valuable addition to your landscape.

So whether you are of the mind to work your micro-herds, or simply let them be, remember that compost, leaves and mulch are among the greatest gifts for an organic gardener.

Go forth and compost!
More information on composting and the benefits to your garden, the environment and your health is abundant here are a few to get you started:

Click to access compost-guide.pdf

Dig in to more resources: General Composting info
DIY Compost Bins
Kitchen Garden International

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