Simple Composting Recipe

Every time I open the alley dumpster to find leaves or lawn clippings spilling out, I just cringe.  That’s black gold in there, I think to myself, cast away like a dirty diaper.

So I thought I should share with people just how easy it is to dispose of all your green waste right there on your property, no hauling necessary.

compost pileOver a period of several weeks this fall, we collected the following ingredients:

6 – smashed pumpkins

2 – bags of hedge clippings

4 – tomato plants with about 10 lbs. of over ripe fruit (oops)

1 – basil plant

3 – lawn mower bags of lawn clippings

8 – what would have been about 8 bags of leaves were raked into a pile and crushed by toddlers for a period of 1 week

12 – quarts of kitchen waste (no meat)

5 – shovels full of compost starter (the bottom of last years compost pile for us, any rotting organic matter sill do)

The ingredients were mixed together and piled high in a metal mesh enclosure on the south side of our garage.  Depending on the ratio of green (still has moisture in it) to brown (i.e. dried leaves) ingredients, you may need to add water to the pile.  Here in Colorado things dry out pretty quickly, so pouring 10 gallons of water over the pile a couple of times can help to get things rotting.

Outdoor air temperature on this November day, a chilly 35 degrees.

temp

Temperature inside the compost pile, a sweltering 125 degrees.

compost temp

Notice the outside of the pile is brown is dried out, but with one turn of the pitchfork the black, steamy core is revealed!

compost core

Does it smell? Oh fuck yes it smells – it smells like you just stuck your head up a cow’s ass when you dig into that pile and release “a steamer”.  But most of the time, it’s not noticeable at all.  I’ve walked past that pile two dozen times in the last few weeks and honestly it wasn’t until today when I turned it did the smell hit me.

We’ll continue to add kitchen waste to the compost pile through the winter, and probably turn it a couple more times before the entire pile has decomposed into a much smaller pile of rich organic black gold, which we’ll add back to the garden beds in the spring.

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