Recently a friend, who cooks for her family of four and just moved into my neighborhood, asked if I could use her extra food scraps for my compost, not having room to compost them herself. I said “Sure!” and set up a bin on my driveway for her to conveniently drop off her kitchen scraps. I filled it with leaves for the carbon component and vowed to try to be a better composter. After discussing compost with a friend, and re-researching the perfect compost, I realized the pile in my back yard, into which I bury kitchen scraps, toss spent plants from the garden, and soil from potted plants on the patio in the winter, lacked brown material, the carbon component. The ratio of carbon “brown” to nitrogen “green” should be 25 to 1. I knew my compost pile was full of happy worms, which is a good sign, but in an effort to raise the carbon ratio, I stopped a local yard maintenance guy with a trailer full of bags, and asked if any of them were just leaves. He said yes, and gave me 2 big bags. (I could have raked a large portion from my own yard, were it not for the persistent rain.) So, I dumped the leaves onto the large pile to get rained on which will help the process.
One of my past problems with making compost, is that I haven’t had a place for finished compost. Theoretically, there should probably be 3 piles, freshly started compost, mid-way compost, and finished compost. Since I am constantly adding to this pile, I never allow it to finish.
So, going forward, I’m going to refrain from putting anything new into this pile, and just turn it and let it do its thing until Spring. All new scraps and leaves will go into the bin next to the pile, including the contents of the bin on the driveway.
That should work, right?