The Process of Composting

| 4/2/2014 8:50:00 AM

Compost happens, yes. But if food scraps are thrown into a pile and left to rot, a hot smelly mess may be taking over. That’s because the process of composting is a symbiotic relationship between carbon and nitrogen. Or at our home, cardboard and food scraps.

Black Crumbly Compost

In order to end up with a pile of black, crumbly, rich scented, compost filled with fully charged micro-organisms capable of generating life-giving forces willing to build soil fertility worthy of growing nutritious veggies, one must understand the role of carbon and nitrogen. At least a little.

Carbon and Nitrogen Ratios

The right combination of carbon and nitrogen will please the micro-organisms responsible for creating the compost gardeners dream of. That’s because these two elements form the basis of their diet. Carbon gives them energy, while nitrogen gives them everything to grow cells and function.

Figuring out how much carbon material and how much nitrogen material to add does not have to be rocket science. One answer for the correct carbon to nitrogen ratio is as follows: 30:1. (I find that confusing.) Another answer can be 10-gallons carbon material to 5-gallons nitrogen material.

An even simpler answer? For every 5-gallon bucket of food scraps added to the compost pile, also add one 5-gallon bucket worth of cardboard pieces. Then go from there.

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