Thursday, March 24, 2011

What's in your compost?

I have two compost bins. Both can be twirled. One has an opening that slides (top two pictures) and the larger bin has a door that opens with a hinge.

Both bins are full of kitchen leftovers, including egg shells and coffee grounds. The bottom bin also has the remnants of Valentine's Day roses and trimmings from last year's garden.

ToshLeft is a picture of Tosh in 2003 with his Flagstaff winter project compost bin. You can start your own compost bin so you will have organic material each year for your garden. Use a garbage bin, preferably a plastic one. Drill holes along the sides so air can circulate. Add food scraps (no meat or walnut shells), straw, grass clippings, coffee grounds, chicken and pigeon droppings (no dog, cattle or cat waste) to the can and periodically add water and sawdust shavings and do your best to mix it up. Cover with a lid and let it set until it looks and feels like soft loam. In colder climates, this may take almost a year. Don’t add “hot” material to your garden until it is decomposed. Adding chicken waste too soon, for example, will rob your plants of nitrogen as it breaks down.