Natural Gardening

 

 

Composting Precautions

There are living creatures that you want in your compost bin such as microbes and red earthworms and then there are the creatures you wan to stay away like raccoons, rodents, and bears).  A compost bin can be very appealing to an animal, easy access to food.  As a rule, you should never put animal matter into compost (left over meat and bones) not only do they not make for good composting they will be a magnet to wild animals.  Following are some more tips to help keep your compost bin free from pests of all sizes.

An odor-free compost bin is less likely to attract bears or any other animal friends.  You can achieve this by rotating or turning the compost pile at least once per week.  Another precaution that should be taken is to have a bin with a cover whether it is commercially made or one you make yourself.

Another thing you can do is to put brown food such as lawn clippings on top of the green food (food scraps and other kitchen waste).  You can purchase lime at your local nursery or hardware store to sprinkle on the top of your composting materials that will increase the rate at which everything decomposes.

The location of your compost heap should not be near the edge of your property especially if you live near a forest or park area.  This makes it very easy for animals to help themselves without being exposed by walking through your backyard.

If bears or raccoons are a big concern in your community you can look into a neighborhood compost pile.  In addition to making composting more accessible to a larger group of people, you can look into an electric or barbed wire fence to ensure no unwanted animals come looking for a free lunch. 

 

Cold or Hot Composting

The heat that is generated from the breaking down of organic matter into compost is known as hot composting.  There is also cold composting, it doesn’t take as much of a commitment from you to upkeep or manage but it does take quite a bit longer to yield
results.

Hot (or active) composting uses microbes to breakdown the matter.  Some experts will recommend you inoculate the compost with live organisms purchased from a gardening supply store in order to get the process started.  While others will recommend adding in healthy top soil as it also contains live organisms that will convert your organic matter into compost material.  Either way, once the process is started your compost pile will generate heat.  You should tend or check on your pile every second day to ensure good air circulation is maintained and that the right level of moisture is kept.

If you do not have the desire or time to maintain a regular compost bin, starting a cold compost (or slow compost) may suit you better.  In a cold compost, you are only using your yard waste and grass clippings instead of a combination of outdoor material with your kitchen scraps.  All that is required of you is to pile your leaves and grass clippings
into a pile and wait.  The process is slow and long – it will not yield usable compost for up to one year.  Be careful not to put in any weeds or other undesirable plants, as there is no heat they will survive the composting process and can grow again when you use the
finished material.

If you generate quite a bit of yard waste and it is too much to include in your regular compost bin consider using both methods.  You can have the best of both composting
methods.

 

  


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Nathaniel Hawthorne
"I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.  It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green."  ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from and Old Manse