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Got Rot? Speed Up Your Compost Pile

September 24, 2008

photo by Richard Rinaldi

Composting is as old as the earth.  There are billions of fun microbes and fungi flitting about making soil amendments in nature.  Just take a look under any log.  But what about bringing this benefit to your backyard?   Luckily composting is one of the easiest skills to posses.  However, learning how to compost can be a dizzying experience.  There are over five million results when you Google composting, which seems a bit daunting. If you visit a local home and garden store, you can find contraptions to help you compost. Not only that, there are books, sprays and additives to help you compost.  If you like to jump into things 100%, you can end up spending hundreds of dollars.  If you are procrastinator, you may never compost due to the seemingly impossibility of doing it “right.”

Remember, ROT HAPPENS no matter how you pile it or style it.  Composting will occur fast or slow depending on your approach.  If you want the process to occur fast, there are few musts to keep in mind:

  • Air:  The best microbes get working with air.  So during the composting process, it is a good idea to turn your pile and/or add “fluffy” material like straw.  Note:  grass clippings mat down easily so they need to be turned more often.
  • Water:  Hey, no problem here in the Northwest.  We can get too wet here so more “fluff” may be required.  In drier climates, you most likely will need to add enough water to make your pile like a wrung out sponge.
  • Food:  Feed your pile leaves or straw.  Then feed it fresh items such as apples, carrot stubs, or coffee grounds.  Fresh items feed the microbes. You can get creative and add manures (but not from your pet dog or cat).  Just be mindful of your neighbors.  Manures can get quite stinky.

Find a nice corner in your yard and start piling if you don’t mind the slow process.  If you use this process be careful of the amount of fresh food you add because it can start smelling putrid so just use a layering method.  One fun part of a chaotic pile of compost is the items that can grow out of it.  You can get some of the nicest cukes, zucchinis and melons just spontaneously growing out of your pile.

Has anyone had something fun and exciting grow out of their pile of compost?

Original article written by Margaret Hoyenga.  Thanks Margaret for your time in writing a helpful but entertaining article!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    November 20, 2008 7:48 pm

    This is a very good website and help me alot thanks again bye


  2. November 20, 2008 9:20 pm


    I’m glad to hear that you feel my site is helpful. Best of luck to you in your garden adventures!


  3. Anonymous permalink
    October 18, 2011 6:09 pm

    i use a lot of garlic when i cook (my wife is Thai). must have thrown a whole glove in there a few weeks back and now have a small garlic plant growing!


  1. What To Know Before Starting Your First Compost Pile « Nest In Style

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