ralph giunta

Composting Workshop!

Tia Meer of Simple Living Institute did her second workshop at Dandelion recently. She introduced the art of composting and how it all breaks down (i had to).

To put it simply, you need a balance of about 3 parts carbon to one part nitrogen to have an effective compost pile. Considering the carbon part to be ‘brown’ and the nitrogen part to be 'green’ is then further translated to decaying yard waste and grass clippings/raked up leaves to be brown and the fresh kitchen scraps and manure and tea leaves to be green. We set up our pile in a 3x3x3 pile. It needs to be big enough to get hot enough to kill pathogens and weed seeds. (We found out that our compost pile’s bad smell was due to an imbalance in the carbon/nitrogen ratio. Too many tea leaves and not enough carbon creates ammonia and therefore a terrible smell!)

Tia set up each group of people with a bucket and a bunch of dense organic matter to cut up into few inch pieces. Banana leaves, palm fronds, and other types of yard waste were cut up with clippers and thrown into the buckets. This was for the brown section of the lasagna we were creating.

Tia showing us that you could use a banana leaf or spanish moss to clean out a bucket instead of a towel.

People brought their own organic wastes to compost and Tia brought some of her own as well including rabbit manure and starbucks coffee grinds. Dandelion supplied prep kitchen scraps like carrot and sweet potato shavings, cilantro ends, and tea and coffee grinds from the counter.

The pile starts off with the browns we cut up at the bottom, then some compost (already made), then layers like a lasagna… greens then browns then greens then browns and so on, making sure to cap off the top with browns in order for our critter community not to be going through it all.

This was one of the green layers…

And here is a brown layer!

The last thing you do is soak the pile with water. “Just enough so that it pees,” Tia says. Water will leak out the sides when you have enough.

Thank you so much for everyone that came out and learned about composting!