Working with Nature to Build Organic Soil, Part 3: Compost


| 4/11/2016 10:10:00 AM


Read previous parts in this series here.

For the suburbanite who has paid for a load of compost but instead received a pile of manure, let’s begin by defining compost: Compost is a mixture of decayed organic materials. It is what continually happens in nature as plants and animals die and are turned into soil by a multitude of microbes.

To have superb soil, we want to learn how to compost wastes from the kitchen, lawn, garden, farm animals and animal bedding. We want compost to smell “earthy,” look black and crumbly and have the consistency of a damp, not wet, sponge.

compost from animal bedding

Making compost is a bit like cooking: in the kitchen, some of us prefer to follow a recipe and others (me!) like to take basic ingredients and then follow their intuition. This article gives you the option of either path for making great compost.



Basic Compost Ingredients

1. Organic material, although strictly defined means “made of carbon,” it includes everything from kitchen scraps to manure to lawn clippings to old plants from the garden. The key to good compost is to have a lot more of the “brown” materials (straw, autumn leaves, wood chips) than “green” (grass clippings, kitchen scraps). The ratio of brown to green is actually 25 or 30:1.





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