Glad you are here to learn about composting.
Living in Colorado the amount of cold we have slows down the decomposing process.
Decomposing is most affective in warm climates. Hard for things to breakdown when they are frozen right? Luckily there are some sunny bouts in the winter that defrost the frozen compost allowing for additions of dirt and kitchen scraps and a good mixing of the compost.
When you are adding raw materials to your compost there needs to be a balance between your greens (like fruit and veggie scraps) and your Browns ( like leaves, coffee grounds, shredded paper etc.) You can even add worms which are very helpful in the decomposing process.
If there is a bad smell your balance is off.
It is important to have damp (not wet) compost. If the compost is too wet you need to add the “Browns” to help balance the oxygen levels and allow the bacteria to be aerobic.
If the compost is too dry, you need to add the greens to keep the balance so little critters like worms, slugs and insects can eat through the raw material and poop out the finished compost. Some people call the finished compost black gold (a nutrient rich fertilized soil for the garden).
The fertilizer from a compost pile is ready when it no longer looks like what you put in. This usually takes a few months or longer.
The New York Compost Project recommends a “plastic bag test” to measure whether compost’s decomposition is complete.
To try this test take some compost place it into a ziplock bag a let it sit for a week or so. When you open the bag if you smell ammonia or a rotten odor, the microorganisms are not done and neither is your compost. Give it another try in a couple weeks.
There are several links to do more research on composting if you are unsure.
I find it is fairly simple to do. I have had great success and I’m sure you will too.
My next post will be a list of items to compost and items not to compost.
Thanks for reading!
Happy Blogging !