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Ideas
Frequently Asked - and Interesting - Questions
How am I going to improve my impossibly stony soil?
How can I grow food, when I have so little time at home?
How Do I Start Composting?
Since I can't rotate my asparagus and alpine strawberries, how can I prevent pest infestations?
What if my neighbors don't like the appearance of a vegetable garden?
What is a green manure?
Why do some gardeners recommend crop rotation?
Handling Unstable Weather
Hugelkultur
Remember Waste Not Want Not? It applies to the garden, too!
Variations on Three Sisters
Vermiculite versus Charcoal
When Neighbors Use Toxic Materials

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Hodgson Biologic
2 Klarides Village Drive
Box 205
Seymour, Connecticut
06483

203-529-7293

In Connecticut's
Naugatuck Valley

How Do I Start Composting?

There are thousands of ways to compost successfully. What varies is the speed at which the feedstocks break down, and the nutrient composition. But compost is good for the garden in any case. Certainly, compost progresses most quickly when the carbon to nitrogen ratio is 25:1, some say 30:1, soil moisture is about 50%, air about 5%, pH between 6 and 7.5.

I spend very little time managing my compost pile, and I get two wheelbarrows full of good compost every spring, just by tossing in the kitchen scraps as they accumulate (no animal products except eggshells), leaves, weedings and grass clippings as they become available, and checking on the pile to see if it needs to be turned or watered.

If the pile starts smelling a little vinegary, that indicates either too much water or too much acid. Solution: put on a nylon glove, grab a handful from below the surface, and squeeze. If more than a drop or two of water comes out, the pile is too wet and needs some dry stuff added and needs to be turned.

If the water looks good, then it's too much acid, and I put in some wood ash from the fireplace and turn it. Without wood ash, I would use lime. Just several tablespoons, not that much. A little goes a long way.

If the pile smells like ammonia, there is too little acid. More coffee grounds, or some sulphur (sold in bags at the garden store). We are coffee drinkers, so we have not had this problem!