Rivercities Garden Club

Meeting 11/4/2001


Program - Jon Lowe on compost

Mr. Lowe gratiously presented a comprehensive lecture on the making and maintaining a compost bed. A good compost is a source of gardening material as well as a way to utilize the waste foliage from the garden.

Good compost smells like good clean dirt. Compost is used to imporve soil, prevent sending materials to land fill. It improves heavy clay stucture. Compost increases water holding power especially sandy soil.

Leaves -> compost -> then gone

Decomposition can be stopped by letting the compost dry.

The Time to Make Compost

2 mo to 2 years

a pile can take a couple years

compost pile should not be where there is standing water.

Types: Minimal size 3 x 3 x 3

Concrete block

Chicken wire

Boards 2 x 6 make slots like slats so boards can be removed

Needs airspace

Can fill plastic bags they will compost on their own. Process speeded by additional water

Can take year old leaves and use them as a mulch then the next year will be compost

Material - leaves, pine straw, grass, saw dust, newspaper, no meat or fats.

Carbon-nitrogen ratio:

Grass leaves more nitrogen to carbon

Sawdust low nitrogen high carbon

Higher Nitrogen:Carbon ratio the faster metabolism.

Grass makes a good mulch - accumulate grass throughout the summer.


Fungi and bacteria and actinomyces

Nitrogen helps growth

Process can be sped up by adding nitrogen - amonium nitrate

Earth worms digest organic material

Millipedes, centepedes

Creating compost pile

Finer particals deteriorate faster.

Shred leaves to create an 8 inch layer

Add 1 inch of compost

amonium nitrate - hand full

then wet layer of leaves just moist

add additional layers

cover it with plastic in winter

Temp can get up to 140 degrees

If it hits 160 it destroys the organisms

In two weeks, mixes the entire compost

Microorganisms in the compost pile

Aerobic - proper bacteria

Anerobic - creats odors.

Problem solving

If compost is not developing then there is insufficient water or nitrogen

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