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A Happy Marriage of dry and wet...  RSS feed

 
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Location: South central Illinois, USA
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We put our household garbage and garden trimmings (except tomato, asparagus, and pepper plants - - which are burned for sanitary reasons), in a circle of fencewire out in the garden. It's often called the compost staging area, as in autumn I'll add it to whatever compost pile I build. This year, mebbe account all the rain, 'though the pile continued to shrink at the usual rate, it had a very unpleasant odor... Lucky for me, a close neighbor had cleaned his goat stalls, and there was some very dry goat poop and straw available. I used 3 tractor bucket loads, re-piled the stinky, wet stuff with the dry. Just 4 days later, heat! I've turned it once, mebbe turn again and add a bit of water tomorrow too. It's heating nicely...

I once read that the 2 major ways compost piles go wrong is a bum C:N and wrong moisture... Makes sense to me. This one, golly, took right off. Gotta get lucky sometime, right? With the heat and humidity here in the Midwest right now, it wasn't much fun to feel the extra from the pile while turning it! Ha! In winter, that heat is a blessing, not so now... Best, TM
 
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Yeah. The C:N ratio is important, as is the moisture.

However, I think that some people put way too much attention into building a 'perfect pile'.
What you have on hand, is what your pile gets made from.
If it is too N heavy, it will rot (a smelly form of composting).
Too C heavy, it will just sit there, and take much longer to decompose.
I would rather err on the side of too much N.

Too much water, and it will tend to be more rot prone.
Too dry, and it will just sit there with very little activity.
I would rather err on the side of too wet.

If you can get the materials to better balance the C:N ratio, you are better off.
If you cannot get them, so be it, you will still end up with compost. Not that big of a deal.
Much better than no compost. It may take longer, or stink, but the end result is pretty much the same.
"This ain't rocket science." It is Mother Nature doing what she does best.

 
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