Grow So Easy – The Secrets of Composting

Most people think of composting then go back to the couch and sit down.

Who really wants to spend all that time gathering grass and hauling leaves and turning the compost pile?

Not me.   That’s why I compost the easy way…just like nature.

Compost By God
There is no pile turning nor measuring of straw or grass or dirt or water.  There is no formula other than this one:   Pile of waste  + time = compost.

I’m a Master Composter – having completed the course our county offers.  And I’m glad I went to class.  I learned that yes, you can go to a lot of work, a lot of trouble and some expense (if you add compost accelerators) but you don’t have to.

Composting is not a mystical process that requires an advanced degree.  It is the most natural thing in the world.  Everything becomes compost over time.  Think about that for a minute.

Where do all the leaves and twigs, pine needles and grass that fall to the forest floor go?  Does someone rush out, rake them up in a pile and watch the pile start to smolder?  Not in my neighborhood (yet).

How to Compost
Want to compost?  Here are the steps:

  1. Collect garbage (veggie and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves, egg shells but no dairy or meat of any kind) in a bucket.
  2. Troll your neighborhood in the fall and take some of the leaves your neighbors nicely bagged up for you.
  3. Rake up grass clippings (if you feel like it) and weeds you’ve pulled up (knock the dirt off the roots or they may keep growing in the pile).
  4. Dump all of them in a pile.
  5. Wait…about a year.

That’s all you need to know to make compost – black gold – as most organic gardener’s (and marketing mavens) call it.  Here are a few other gems I took home from this class:

  1. There is no rigid method that will open up the pearly gates to composting heaven.  You can try to balance brown stuff with green stuff but even if you don’t, you will still get composted soil.
  2.  Composting is free!  You do not have to race out and buy accelerators, fancy, rotating tubs, or a compost thermometer.   You don’t even need a bin!
  3.  Magic tools and additives are not required to make compost.  You only need them if you are in a real hurry and can’t wait for nature to take its course.
  4.  Depending on how fast or slow you want to turn out compost, you don’t even have to rotate your compost – flip it over and bring the oldest stuff to the top, unless you want to speed up the process.

I’m a practical organic gardener.   I like to let God do all the work.  I have three bins made out of old dog kennel fencing.  I just toss all the brown, green and household garbage in one of them and leave it alone for a year or two.

When I need some composted soil to beef up my garden or feed my new transplants, I just lift the stuff that didn’t break down over the wall into the next bin.

At the bottom of the pile, I always find 6 to 8 inches of beautiful dark brown, loamy soil.  I dig it out, use what I need and plant something in the bin that I just emptied.

Like everything else in the organic gardening world, composting is always treated as a mystical process; it isn’t.  It’s really just the natural process of decay.  And you can just let it sit and do its thing while you work around the yard.  When you need it, the compost will be there, waiting for you.

Any composting tips?  Please share!  And next week,  tips on how NOT to weed!

I know this isn’t Friday but…I will be on the road in Virginia and thought I would post early.  (Oh, and apologies for the false start on this post!  I hit a couple of magic keystrokes and off it sailed into the ethernet.)

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8 responses to “Grow So Easy – The Secrets of Composting

  1. And all the worms that come to help with the composting!

  2. …and you can use a few of those worms to go fishing, adding another element of self-sufficiency to the family diet.

    • Yes you can but when it comes to fresh water fishing the only way I would be able to catch them is with dynamite! Not so eco-friendly!!

  3. I have a question for you Pat. When composting and just adding in the weeds to decompose don’t you have to worry about weed seeds if you just let it do its own thing? I have been putting all of my weeds into a burn pile and burning them…. along with pruned woody waste from bushes and trees. The soil I get from that I either add on top of my flower gardens or combined it with my clay soil to help break it up and use in future gardening. I know ideally I should pull the weed before they get to making seeds but as I’m sure you know that doesn’t alway happen. I feel bad burning it because of all of the great green nutrition but I didn’t want to deal with the seeds if they sprouted.

    • Hey Sue, the weed seeds will sprout in the pile but I just don’t pay them any attention. If stuff starts growing in the bin, I just pull it and lay it on top. I might flip the pile into one of the other bins I have but I don’t work at it and I don’t worry about it (being older is sometimes a blessing). I guess because I wait for the composted soil and then I pile tons of straw onto my garden beds so not much really sprouts from below… If anything sprouts on top – like the seeds that may be in the straw or hay, I just pull them up and lay them, roots up on the straw so the die and compost in place. As I said, I am the worlds’ laziest gardener….and I let God take on a lot of the “natural” tasks. This arrangement seems to work for both of us!

  4. Pingback: Grow So Easy Organic – How To Grow Beans — Bush & Pole | Grow So Easy Organic

  5. Pingback: Eartheasy’s Composting Tips | Grow So Easy Organic

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