WIRED TO NATURE • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Demystifying compost:
it’s a piece of cake to make
By Henry Owen
Winter in West University Place is a great time to
start an outdoor compost pile because leaves — a
carbon source — are plentiful. Making compost
is like baking a cake: Mix your four ingredients
(carbon, nitrogen, water and oxygen) in the correct proportions,
and then let it cook.
Compost is a dark, nutrient-rich organic material that is the
result of decomposed garden and kitchen waste. The two main
1)Responsibly disposing of your kitchen scraps (nitrogen), and;
2)Using free materials to create “black gold” to improve the
quality of your soil and help grow healthy plants.
The most important thing to remember is that composting is a
natural process. It is going to happen anyway; we are just trying
to speed it up a little and control the end product (compost).
What You’ll Need
Bin: While not absolutely necessary, compost piles in bins
have a neater appearance and heat up faster, speeding up
the composting process. You can buy a bin, or build one
inexpensively from simple materials like old pallets or welded
Dedicated space: Place your bin anywhere that is convenient.
A sunny location will help speed up the “cooking” (hot compost
piles need to heat up) and will require more water than a shady
Tools: You probably already have all the tools you need. A
shovel, garden hose, wheelbarrow (for transporting), rake (for
keeping the area tidy), and a pitchfork or similar tool (optional,
but useful for aerating and turning your compost).
4 Essential Ingredients & Why It Works
This aerobic (with air!) composting is powered by microbes
that require oxygen. You make compost by combining the right
amounts of your four ingredients.
Water and oxygen: Make sure your batch is thoroughly
moistened. How moist? The pile should be damp, but no water
should come out if you squeeze a handful, like a wrung-out
sponge. Oxygen is provided by turning the compost or by
including chunky materials such as twigs and Sweet Gum tree
Carbon: This is the “brown” material you add to your batch.
Norman Wilson Realty
6619 Sewanee - $2,499,000
#1 in Sales-West U
Incredible home on 100’x147’ lot in prime West U location.
5 bedrooms | 4 bathrooms | 2 half bathrooms | Game room
Pool | Summer kitchen | Complete garage apartment.
Member MLS, HAR and TAR