Starting a Compost Pile - Knowledgebase Question

Johnstown, PA
Question by ktomachek
April 19, 1998
When is the best time to start a compost pile and what are the best things to put in the pile?


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Answer from NGA
April 19, 1998

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Any time is the right time to start a compost pile! Springtime is great, because you'll have lots of weeds and vegetable matter to dump in. Although there are all sorts of "formulas" for the perfect compost pile, all you really need to understand is that you need a balance of nitrogen and carbon sources. Nitrogen sources include anything fresh and green--fresh grass clippings, freshly pulled weeds--also kitchen vegetable scraps, and manures. Carbon sources tend to be brown--straw or old hay, for example, or dried leaves. The smaller the pieces of material, the quicker they will decompose, so, if possible, chop up kitchen waste; you can even run the lawnmower over a pile of fall leaves, to break them up.

Then, simply begin layering your "greens" with your "browns". Occasionally, throw in a shovelful of dirt, to introduce some microorganisms and earthworms. Cover the pile, and keep an eye on it so it stays moist but not soggy. That's it!

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