Thursday, May 10, 2018

It's Compost Awareness Week!

It's that time of year once again...  Compost Awareness Week, which falls right at the time when people who compost get on with waking up their compost piles after a winter of collecting compostable kitchen scraps.

Some of my winter scraps feed my basement vermi-composting condo, but we produce so much more than the red wigglers can handle that most end up outside during the winter, sitting on top of my compost heap in the snow, waiting to be mixed in with last fall's yard waste. Unfortunately, kitchen scraps don't compost a lot in our chilly winters. The bin pictured above was mostly thawed stuff from the tops of our 3-bin system, mixed with water and more leaves so that the pile would be aerated enough for the bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms to start cooking the pile. It's already starting to work, as you can see from the picture below, taken 24 hours later...

In two months or so, this will all be glorious black stuff. Maybe even sooner if I keep stirring every two weeks and keep it nice and wet.

Composting really isn't all that difficult if you remember the four necessary ingredients of greens, browns, water, and air. Collect your kitchen scraps (greens), mix them with leaves from last fall (browns -- I have enough to share if you need some), wet everything down (water), and don't forget to "fluff" the pile now and then so that all the living things that do the composting can breathe (air). Keep it as damp as a wrung-out sponge (things rot better when they're wet), and you're away.

The City of Edmonton has a wonderful webpage with plenty of information about composting, plus there's Compost 'S cool at the John Janzen Nature Centre, where you can learn from  the expert seen in this cool video (if you click here). Or, if you like, you can contact me. I'm thinking about setting up a Wine, Cheese and Composting party for my neighbourhood over the next couple of weeks. I've done it once before, and it was lots of fun.

The best thing about composting is the black gold that it creates. There's nothing like compost for enriching soil -- it's so much better than chemical fertilizers because it is naturally occurring. If you garden like God does and let leaves accumulate around your plants, you'll notice an improvement in your soil where the leaves begin to self-compost. And if you make and spread compost on your lawn, you'll notice an improvement in just a few days. The picture below is from last year -- the right side of the lawn is where we raked in compost.

Composting is a great way to give back to our planet, which gives us so much. I like the idea of feeding our soil by "recycling" the nutrients we don't absorb as human beings. If you've never tried composting, there's no better time to start than these early days of May!

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