Welcome to Week 2 of the Compost-Along.
Before we get started, a little business to take care of. Everyone who joined the -Along by commenting on either the intro post or the first assignment post, or via email, or on Facebook was tossed into a pool to win a copy of The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah Martin.
We picked a winner: Deanne Likkel
Congrats, Deanne! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and we’ll send that out to you ASAP.
Now, a little more business. At the bottom of this post are two ways you can show us your progress as we compost. First, you can click the link to go to our Flickr page and upload a photo. I’m hoping for some smooth pics of awesome bales of rotten straw, finely shredded leaves and paper, and what you’ve scored at Starbucks. Love to see your bins, too, folks. Make me jealous.
And, if you’re a blogger and you want to blog about your compost-along experience, you can use the linky, just like in our DIY link-up.
Both links are down there at the bottom of this post.
Last week, the assignment was to decide on the type of bin or pile we were going to use and figure out what composting materials we wanted to use.
Hopefully by now, you’ve made your decisions and have figured out how you are going to get your bins/materials. Many of you have reported you’ve already got bins or piles in varying states, which is great. Those may find week two a little boring, but I want everyone to have plenty of time to catch up and to get what they need to proceed.
This is the week to get the bin or put the bin together. It’s also the week to start (or finish) collecting the materials you will need to fill your bin.
If you’re doing a freestanding pile, obviously you really can’t fill it up, but you can get the amount of material you think you can manage to turn on a weekly basis, which is our goal: one turn a week.
If you read the article at this link: http://permaculture.org.au/2008/07/26/18-day-compost-the-appliance-of-science/, you may have read the “optimal” size for a productive pile is 1 meter by 1.5 meters (about 3 feet around by 5 feet high). Let me tell you that’s a lot of compost. I’ve been aiming to fill a wire bin that size, and it is a monster. It’s not practical for a lot of people, so if you can’t stretch to that size, don’t sweat it. Just make the pile/bin the size you can easily manage, and we’ll make it work just fine.
Go back to the list in this post for a refresher on greens and browns, and aim for a proportion of one third greens (nitrogen-rich) to two thirds browns (carbon-rich).
To recap, for WEEK 2:
Get/make your bin
Collect your compost materials
For extra credit this week, you might try to gather up some natural compost activators, like alfalfa meal, blood or bone meal, cottonseed meal, fish emulsion, comfrey, stale dog food, seaweed, and, of course, urine. What are your favorite compost activators?
Everybody, please share your favorite ways to score great compost ingredients. Given that it’s spring, the best ways to get good browns is likely to be a hot topic. Let us know your favorite compost activators, too.
P.S.: I’ve been Facebooking and Tweeting some of my favorite compost-related videos and articles all week. If you’ve missed any, you don’t have to be on Facebook or Twitter to view our page, just click on the Facebook link in our right-hand sidebar and check out last week’s postings.