Compost - Going Green With Black Gold
Written by: Clay Miller

Composting is the storing of organic materials and over time these organic materials breakdown naturally by organisms. The result is what is called "black gold" because of the value of the nutrient-rich fantastic fertilizer. I bet you guessed the end result is black. Composting is easy and fun to get your kids involved. That's how I got into composting. If you know about recycling paper, plastic and metal just think of composting as the recycling of organic materials. We need to go into what a compost bin is and what can go into your compost bin.

Let's look at your compost bin. Compost bins are usually made from blocks, wire or wood.

Your compost bin should be put in a convenient and shady area and good drainage is important. Your compost pile should be at least 3 feet square and 4 feet high to generate the heat needed by the composting organisms.

These composting organisms are living so they need a balanced diet. This diet should be the mixture of water, air and green and brown ingredients.

The high-nitrogen green ingredients include: food wastes (fruits and vegetables, tea bags, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.), grass clippings, weeds and hay.

The high-carbon brown ingredients include: autumn leaves, corn stalks, pine needles, paper items (napkins, towels, bags, plates, tissue, newspaper and coffee filters), saw dust and straw.

You should start your pile with coarse material to build in air passages. You then add a few inches of alternating layers of green and brown ingredients. Add a little amount of water after each layer. You can use a shovel or pitchfork to add the materials. You can use your hands, but make sure you are wearing gloves. Whenever you add ingredients to your compost pile you need to "mix" your ingredients into the rest of the pile. It is best to use a hoe, pitchfork or a shovel to do this properly.

Troubleshooting your compost pile:

If the center of the pile is dry you need to add water and mix the pile.

If the compost is wet and warm only in the middle the pile may be too small. Add more material and mix the pile.

If the compost pile has a bad odor it is not getting enough air. Mix the compost and add more dry material if the pile is too wet

If the compost pile is wet and sweet-smelling, but it still will not heat up the pile needs more nitrogen. Add grass clippings, food waste or coffee grounds.

Composting is a cheap and easy way to create your own fantastic fertilizer and its totally natural. So instead of throwing out your food you can put it to good use. This will save some space in landfills. You also can save money not having to pay for fertilizer and save time by putting some of your grass clipping and leaves into your compost bin.

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