Sunday, April 17, 2011

Composting Early

Typically, we begin our composting in the fall after raking up our leaves.   The challenge is that our compost pile has too much carbon material and not enough nitrogen material.  As a result, not much composting occurs and we basically have a wet pile of leaves after the winter.
Last fall, based on my spouse's input, I began adding large amounts of grass clippings to the compost pile.   To increase composting effectiveness, I created an new pile by layering the grass clippings and leaves.  The composting process took off.  Within a couple days, the internal temperature of the pile reached 140 degrees and the compost pile was being reduced noticeably in height.  In a month, I was able to reduce 20 large bags of leaves to pile that could fit in one to two of the bags.

This year I decided to not wait until the fall to add grass clippings. I am cutting my lawn and bagging the clippings for four to five cutting cycles.  I will add mix the clippings with the leaves from last fall and then letting the pile compost over the summer.   Hopefully, the process will benefit from the summer heat and result in a fully composted product by fall, which can be then added to our flower beds.

A month before the leaves start falling, I will begin cutting the lawn again and bagging the clippings.  This will enable us to rapidly compost the leaves that we collect immediately, rather than for the following spring for sufficient grass clippings. 
For more on  New Beginnings, check back every Sunday for a new segment.
This is not financial or composting advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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