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composting question

May 04, 2011 -

Hello,  I’m new to composting and wondering if anyone can help me with my¬† 1/3 compost pile I started and did not finish? So far I only have all organic kitchen greens that I chopped up and placed in a compost spinning container. As I let the greens sit until I could get to the nursery to add browns I neglected it for a week and it is now rotting, smelling, molding. I understand its supposed to decompose, however is it supposed to be molding?  Can I still add my browns and use this ‘rotted green’ material? My greens are basically banana peels, orange peels, some old salad greens, pineapple skins, coffee grounds, etc. It smells a bit and has lots of flies swarming inside the container. I know I need to add browns to it but not sure what type besides dried leaves, hay, sticks? Crazy as it sounds I have none of these in my desert landscape. Can I use dried out palm tree fonds?  Thanks for any suggestions you may have smile  peacedoula

 

Peacedoula,

Go ahead and add “brown” in an equal amount to your rotting greens. All your greens sound good. The smells, mold and flies are due to the lack of brown.

NO HAY! It has seeds.

Straw does not have seeds and that is often the most easily available “brown”. Get some at a local feed store.

Sticks won’t break down fast enough.

Rule of thumb on dried palm fronds is that they should be chipped before adding them to a compost pile. Otherwise they won’t break down fast enough.

Mix the brown in well, and add water as you go. You cannot mix green and brown and then add water at the end. It will not penetrate the pile adequately. The micro and macroorganisms in the pile need a mixture of nutrients, water, and oxygen to live.

Some people keep a few flakes of straw handy near the compost pile. When they add a container of kitchen scraps they cover that with an equal amount of straw.

If you want a “fast” compost pile that will produce lovely humus in about 10 weeks, then do all your layering at once. You can often find extra “green” as leftovers at juice bars.

If you are building your pile week by week, based on kitchen scraps, it will take longer to break down. About a year. Both ways are fine. Just wanted to be sure you knew when you would have “finished” compost.

Hope this helps!

Charlotte

 



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