The Garden Lady: The art of composting

Reduce, reuse, recycle. With everything I do, I try to make processes simple and effective. This is why I teach composting as an art as one of my classes. Certainly there is an exact science to the breakdown of browns (carbon base) and greens (nitrogen base), but why not simplify where you can?

Basic compost recipe:

  1.  Three handfuls of browns (leaves, straw, small twigs).
  2. One handful of green (precooked fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags).
  3. Mix, weekly (the more often you mix the quicker you’ll have soil for your garden).

You might need to add a little water, as the mix should be moist, like a wrung-out sponge. To speed up the process, add some dried molasses. The molasses acts as a carbohydrate and stimulates the microbes to work faster.

Purchase a compost container at the local hardware store, or for a cheap and easy compost bin, make a cylinder container out of chicken wire. Keep in mind: The more you turn and mix your compost pile, the faster it will breakdown into usable material for your garden.

One of my favorite authors is Malcom Beck, who wrote The Secret Life of Compost. (It is a really trashy read. Har-har!)

Garden Lady’s green dates to remember:

April 7, 11 a.m. at Repotted, followup on plantings from March 3 class.  We will specifically focus on tomatoes.

April 19, 6 p.m.,  A Community Cooks at the We Over Me Farm at Paul Quinn College


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