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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Composting Update!

I just went outside to add some more fruit and vegetable ends to my compost pile. I also "turned" the pile, meaning taking a pitch fork or shovel and mixing the matter at the bottom of the pile with the rest of the pile. The matter at the bottom of the pile was very damp because I hadn't turned it in a few days. Composting experts recommend turning your compost pile every two or three days to maximize decomposition. I also noticed that there were several dry spots in the layers of compost. Dry spots are a standard occurrence in New Mexican compost piles mostly due to out dry climate. Thoroughly mixing the compost seemed to even out the dry and damp spots.

Aeration is also an important part of the composting process. If you are using the same set up as me, (a black plastic garbage can), either punch hole around the bottom half of the can or take the lid off for a few hours a day. I'm using a black garbage can to start out my compost because it's supposed to help speed up the process and I have male dogs that pee on everything.  My compost seems to be breaking down very nicely. The bottom layers are a rich black color and the pile has a nice earthy smell. If your compost pile has an offensive smell, add dry leaves, grass clippings even a little bit of potting soil or just plan dirt.

I've been searching on newmexicocraigslist.org for wooden pallets to make a larger, more traditional compost bin and there are a few folks giving them away in Albuquerque. Just type in "wooden pallets" in the "free" listings sections of newmexicocraigslist.org and several listing will appear. There are also some good deals on pre-manufactured compost bins which look pretty tempting because they are more enclosed and offer more protection for your compost. Especially if you have male dogs that pee on everything. Fortunately my husband has fenced off a nice, shady area for them where they can pee on everything...but my compost pile!

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