Monday, July 28, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Grow For It! The basics of compositing

By
From page B3 | October 03, 2012 |

Imagine being able to transform yard waste, kitchen scraps and other organic materials readily found around the home, into rich fertile soil.

You’ll lighten the load in the bin that goes to the curb on garbage pickup day as well.

Compostables (the term applied to waste products that can be turned into compost) are estimated to represent almost 40 percent of the average household waste. Better that these discards provide an “in-house” benefit than to haul them away to some distant location.

Composting, simply put, is providing an environment that allows bacteria and other small organisms that occur naturally to decompose what would otherwise be considered waste.

It enables us to recycle these wastes back to the soil. A good location for composting is somewhere convenient to the source of your materials, whether in the kitchen or garden.

In the kitchen, a covered bucket is handy for collecting food scraps. In your garden, a good average sized compost pile is about three square feet. You may simply make a pile or, if pests are a problem, a container or structure may be appropriate. Wherever you choose to locate the compost pile, remember that proper composting requires the circulation of air and the availability of water.

The simplest way to describe the ingredients that will go into a pile is to call the materials either brown or green.

Brown materials are those which are high in carbon, such as dried leaves or brush; even shredded cardboard can be used.

The green is the stuff that is high in nitrogen and starts the decomposition process when combined with water and air. Green materials include grass clipping, kitchen scraps and manure. One should be cautioned not to use real slimy, gooey stuff or any human or pet waste.

To build a pile, simply put some brush or larger material on the ground followed by successive layers of green and brown materials. The ratio of each can be as high as 20 to one, carbon to nitrogen by volume.

Manure is a favorable starter since it is “hot” or very high in nitrogen. The more nitrogen, the more likely you will produce a thermophilic reaction which simply means that the pile has reached a temperature in excess of 150 degrees, measured at the center of the pile.

This not only speeds the composting process but also allows you to add weeds with the assurance that the seeds will be killed. Each layer should be thoroughly watered

Once the first stage is completed, let the bugs take over. You can even add a little dirt as it contains favorable organisms as well. Water and stir the pile to make sure that air is available throughout.

Materials such as boards or large pieces of wood should be left out to allow optimum air and water circulation. Something like wood ashes that is powdery and prone to caking should be used sparingly.

If odor becomes a problem, cover the pile with drier bulk material. An ammonia smell indicates an excess of nitrogen and signals that you should add more brown materials.

After a period of three to six months you should be rewarded for your efforts with finished compost. It will be virtually odorless in its finished state and is usually the color of coffee grounds.

Use the compost by adding it directly to the garden soil as an amendment or side dress established plants to give them a nutrient boost. Use it mixed with soil to pot up plants and save money on potting soil.

On Saturday, Oct. 6, Master Gardeners present “Gardening with Succulents.” Learn how to grow and care for these wonderful plants. The class is offered at no charge and starts at 9 a.m. This class will be held in the Veterans Memorial Building, 130 Placerville Drive in Placerville.

Master Gardeners are available to answer home gardening questions Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon by calling 530-621-5512. Walk-ins are welcome. The office is located at 311 Fair Lane in Placerville.

For more information about the public education classes and activities, go to the Master Gardener Website at ucanr.edu/sites/EDC_Master_Gardeners/. Sign up to receive the online notices and e-newsletter at ucanr.edu/mgenews/. You can also find Master Gardeners on Facebook.

Do you have plastic feed sacks or plant containers to recycle? Master Gardeners will gladly take them at the Master Gardener Office. Call before dropping them off and thank you for the donation.

Comments

comments

Thorne Barrager

.

News

County’s chief lawyer: No Brown Act violation

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

 
General Plan workshop today

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

Two growth control initiatives get green light

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

 
Sand Fire burns more than 4,000 acres

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Fatal accident in Camino

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Agricultural Crop and Livestock Report released

By Ross Branch | From Page: A3

 
35 people displaced in Tahoe hotel fire

By Tahoe Tribune | From Page: A3 | Gallery

.

Opinion

The balancing act: Toxic waste spreads

By Larry Weitzman | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Bee-ing silly

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Want more water?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Refugee crisis

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Letter to Speaker of the House

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
GDPUD misinformation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

At the crossroads

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Schedule: July 28 – Aug. 2, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Roundup: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Camp experience is ‘priceless’

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Speedway races cancelled

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

El Dorado doubles up on Pro Players

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Under the Scoreboard: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Local spiker shines

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

 
Sports Scene: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

.

Prospecting

A beautiful day at Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm

By Cathy Barsotti | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Foothill gourmet: Things get corny

By Donna Brown | From Page: B2

Bipolar Insights: From point A to point B

By Marcia Rose | From Page: B2

 
Cool time at Cowboys and Cornbread

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
As we were: Recreation district grows

By Ken Deibert | From Page: B4

Cantare names new director

By Cantare Chorale | From Page: B10

 
After 5 Club to meet

By Senior Day | From Page: B10

.

Essentials

DUI Log: June 25-July 9

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 14-16

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Divorces

By Charlotte Sanchez-Kosa | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

 
.

Obituaries

.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
American Profile Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Monday, July 28, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8