Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Preparing Compost.

All the rain we've had in the past couple of weeks has provided a rich source of green grass. When the sun came out for a day, everyone was cutting their grass, which is just what I've been waiting for during this time of year!

I went out for a fresh-bagged grass harvest and was very successful. I came back with thirteen large bags of grass clippings for my compost pile.

It was well worth the effort! Being addicted to tracking things on spreadsheets, I just had to weigh these bags, so I set up the hanging scale and went to work. These thirteen bags of grass clippings weighed 332 pounds! No wonder the truck was riding smoothly!

This past spring I stored leaves in the bin to the left side of the picture. There was approximately 100 bags of leaves in that left bin, and they have packed themselves down incredibly tight. That's what I use to blend with the grass clippings for my compost. After blending all the clippings with some of the leaves, the bin was full to the top. Notice how the compost mixture is at the top rail of the back of the bin.

This is how I like for the mixture to look when I am beginning a new batch. Heavier on the nitrogen materials so they will begin to work faster on the carbon materials. It's just personal preference. The information I have read about composting would say this is too much nitrogen-based materials. I disagree with that. When I begin turning this batch, I will be blending in more of the dry leaves on an as-needed basis to avoid clumping of the grass clippings. All I can say is that this works great for me.

This is what the pile looks like on the third day after building it. Look at the top rail along the back of the bin. Remember, I had the bin filled to that point initially. The pile is really cooking!

I took a temperature reading on the third day to see how well it was doing. It was cooking just fine!

That's it for this batch of compost. I'll toss in a few forkfulls of leaves and maybe later on some additional grass clippings just to keep it cooking. The clippings cook faster than the leaves, so clippings will be the last addition to the pile before it is used. Now I'll turn this every three days for the next 30 days or so and then it's ready to go into the garden.

Thanks for stopping in to visit! I really appreciate each visitor and invite each of you to share a comment if you are so inclined.

Have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK


  1. Looks great. The grass isn't growing much here lately but when it does I will have some clippings for my compost :)

  2. I have to get working on my compost tomorrow. The one side has good compost in it that needs to go in the garden. I just started the other side a couple of weeks ago. I layer green and brown all year long. We add a lot of household scraps and paper as well to the compost bin.

    It looks like I will have a bin empty this fall for grass and leaves. All the rain we have been having really got things compacted!

  3. Do you put your household compost into that bin as well, or do you start 'cooking' that stuff separately.

    I am finding that I really need to have two or more bins... Otherwise I keep end up putting things into it, and then it is never finished! Hindsight is 20/20, huh?

  4. becky3086, Thanks! The grass growth really slows down here too. I'm getting ready to mow ours and then sow annual rye so I'll have a winter crop of nitrogen for my compost pile.

    Robin, Good luck with all your composting. At least compost is forgiving. If you don't get to it today, it will wait for you until tomorrow or the next day.

    Prairie Cat, When I have a batch that's almost ready, I generally will put my household scraps at the extreme end of the pile and let it sit undisturbed until I distribute the "ready" compost. Then with the remaining bits of compost at the bottom of the bin, I'll blend it all in and start my next batch with that.

    Thanks to all of you for visiting and for sharing a comment!

    Have a great vegetable gardening day!
    Veggie PAK