“This Type Of Pile Could Potentially Become Smelly”

If you want to digest some of the juiciest bits about farming and gardening on the wacky wild web, check out the Organic Gardens Network web site. It serves up some wicked good content with depth and breadth. Like ‘em on Facebook, and you won’t be able to leave your newsfeed until you’ve read all of their updates, every day.

Compost PileTheir most recent goodie arrived today: An info-packed guide to hot, warm, and cold composting, outlining the benefits and challenges of these three compost approaches.

Thanks. I needed that!

We started our own compost pile a couple of months ago — with the best of intentions. I researched the science and ferreted out the secrets for success: Add equal amounts of green and brown. Water the waste. And turn it over a few times a week with a pitchfork or other robust garden implement. Compost needs a healthy balance of green, brown, water, and oxygen to thrive, and we were intent on nurturing our trash, so we could return it to the earth to live — and give — again.

Wow. Best laid plans…

One: We’re too busy to tend our compost more than once a week (if it’s lucky). Two: When time allows, mixing waste doesn’t float even close to the top of the list. (Sorry, earth. We’re trying here!) Three: We added too much green and too much water. Green + water = fruit flies. And smell.

Today’s OGN “com-post” to the rescue: I learned that we can be “passive” composters! Who knew? Kim from OGN says that this is the “no-work composting system.” Perfect! She advises us to throw in browns and greens “willy-nilly.” Add some water “once in awhile (or never).” Mix it up “now and again (or never).” I can do this!

Yes, a cold — or passive — compost pile takes longer to decompose than those tended by people with more zeal and better equipment, but eventually, Mother Nature will do her thing, and I’ll have some personal garden gold. Kim also warns that cold compost piles can become “smelly.” I can vouch for this. But we’ve added more brown in the form of torn cardboard and shredded junk mail, and I think (hope) we got the stench under control. (And hopefully the fruit flies, although I fear opening the container at this point to confirm.)

So, thank you Kim and your fabulous Organic Gardens Network info-pository. You’ve helped me — and Mother Earth — in so many ways.

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