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Master Gardener Kristine Hanson shows you how to make a compost heap at home.
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Chris Burrous: Everyone’s a farmer when it comes to their own backyard, try these tips for doing’ it Home Grown. Kristine Hanson: Farmers and home gardeners love compost and they love mulch. But, what’s the difference? Well, compost can be a mulch- looks like this. Straw is mulch but not compost. Compost does a very important additional thing, adds vitamins and nutrients to your plants, vegetables and trees. So, where do we get compost? Well, the easiest thing to do is buy it. This is planting compost; this is what it looks like. It’s all pretty; it’s already been made up for us. It smells great and it has great nutrition for you soil, you plants and veggies. Or, soil loves the same things that we like to eat. So get one of these little bins, keep them right next to the garbage can and add things like fruits, coffee grounds, peelings like potatoes, some green vegetables from the refrigerator, some egg shells and citrus. Mix these kitchen items along with stuff from the yard, like brown leaves and green grass and yummy! You’ve got some of the best ingredients for food for your soil. Now let’s go add all this to our compost pile. Alright to make your compost pile, you’re going to add a layer of green, like our grass clippings. You’re then going to add a layer of brown, you’re going to take your kitchen scraps, you’re going to dig a hole and pour those about a foot down. And then…huh…it’s a matter of time and a lot of turning. Well this is it, this is what we do at home, you get a pitch fork and you turn and you eventually make compost. Nicolai Laquaglia is here from the Horticulture Center and you’re doing a good job on this bin but I think there are some easier ways to do this. Nicolai Laquaglia: These are bins and they work very well- we found that they get up to temperature very quickly. We’re going to add a layer of brown and a layer of green. Yes, we think of it as carbon and nitrogen- a layer of brown carbon to a layer of green nitrogen. And you just get it in there, get some water in there, use a sprinkler or something or other and you take a fork and you turn it. And you keep doing that layer after layer until you get it up to the top. This one is a little more portable- Take these apart or lift them off of the pile. This is a covered one and there are some advantages to that. You can just pull it out of this bottom. Now there are also some stackables. As you get more compost, continue to stack it up. The microbial action is what’s doing the work for us. And it’s the nitrogen and the carbon mixing together with the right amount of moisture. And we’re getting these things up to- we had one get up to 164 degrees in one day. Alright, let’s go talk about the second kind you’re testing. You can just have this door on there, and take a hold of the handle and it’s not hard to turn at all. This is the tumble-wee, we found this to work very well. Take out the shelf, the top part falls to the second section. Now, these all cost money and unfortunately most of us don’t get to buy them and use them like you have. So, after all of this experimentation, what’s your favorite? I have to admit, it’s the cheapest one down there. Kristine Hanson: It’s my favorite too- the green and the black round bins. Nicolai Laquaglia: That’s right. The ones that come apart very easily, has lots of hole, they get up to temperature, you said it got up to- Very quickly, if you wanted to have very quick compost you could have it there. Kristine Hanson: So we’re going to be mulching our gardens all year long, so why not combine the two and mulch with compost and feed your plants at the same time.