Written by John Wiseman

If you are wanting to grow wholesome food, beautiful pollinators, or trees and shrubs, they all need

nourishment that in turn will nourish our bodies and souls. Lets think a bit longer term and start composting.

It’s easy! We all have the ingredients around our abodes. They are: carbon, nitrogen, air, and water.

Compost is a keystone building block to vital soil. Let’s just try getting the ingredients in good proportions and let the composting critters do 90% of the labor. Oh, the other 10% is up to us.

The simplest composting starts with a layered pile of our ingredients. Start with a layer of cardboard,

(worms love cardboard) scatter a few small diameter sticks on next, (to help with airflow) now start layering more carbon and nitrogen-rich materials to an approximate ratio of 25:1 – 30:1 carbon to nitrogen. The carbon content (other than the cardboard and sticks) are dry leaves, sawdust, or even shredded newspaper, the nitrogen content is our food scraps (No meat or dairy products), grass clippings, or green foliage. Always top the pile off with a layer of carbon-rich material.

The high carbon content keeps the pile ratio in balance reducing the odors associated with nitrogen release, usually in the form of ammonia gas.

As for the water and air: If it is dry add a little water, if we are having our usual downpours try covering with a tarp. Then the most labor we need to perform is turning weekly to aerate. Our hidden

labor force inside the pile requires food, water, and air. You can supply that.

For more in-depth info, good resources are Rodale’s All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, and as always, our local County Extension Agent has publications on composting. Online videos, and literature abound as well as does our wonderful Transylvania Public Library.

If a more orderly compost is desired let your imagination create the best facility to suit your needs.

Ours is pictured above. I may be a “soil geek”.