It’s that time of year to do fall chores like rake leaves, clean up flower beds, and clear out vegetable gardens. This fall chore usually takes a lot of time and effort just keep your yard clear. Instead of bagging up all that waste and dumping it in a landfill, utilize the nitrogen and carbon rich plants for the perfect compost blend. Now is the perfect time to finish off a compost pile before winter comes.
Compost is decomposed material that can be used for soil amendment and fertilizer. Good compost requires a blend of Nitrogen, Carbon, Oxygen, and moisture to properly break down and create nutrient rich soil. In simpler terms, fruit, plants, straw, and manure are all great examples of items to use in a compost pile.
Fall is a great time to start composting. Dump that pile of leaves and waste into a bay or bin and let the moisture from snow and time do the work for you. During spring and summer, the pile of compost should be turned over to allow oxygen in to help the process. To fully decompose, this process can take weeks or months depending on what gets added to the pile.
Table scraps and waste are the items most typically associated with composting. These items are Nitrogen rich and are usually wet. Fruit, vegetables, grass clippings, flowers, chicken manure and even coffee grounds are all examples of great compost material.
Things that are brown and dry are usually high in Carbon. Examples of high carbon items are leaves, sticks, pine needles, and wood chips. How many years have you been raking all of this stuff without realizing you could have been composting? Some other items you might not have realized are great for composting are corn cobs, straw, or wood ash and newspaper from those autumn bonfires.
There are many variations of composting bins of all shapes and sizes to fit your needs. You can get fancy and sophisticated with a rotating drum, or you can simply create and pile that you manually turn over with a pitch fork. There are also many DIY variations if you are handy and want to make one yourself. Whichever one you end up choosing, you will be rewarded with a wonderful fertilizer.