Compost Layer Cake
A simple trick to remember when composting.
Building a compost pile is like making a layer cake. Dry “brown” materials are the cake; fresh “green” materials are the thinner icing between the layers. Use about 4 parts brown to 1 part green. The green adds nitrogen; the brown balances the ammonia produced by decaying green stuff so your pile stays sweet.
To speed up the process, give the pile a spritz with the hose when rain is scanty, and turn it with a garden fork weekly, to aerate it.
- Fallen leaves
- Dead plants from spring cleanup
- Dead ornamental grass clippings
- Newspaper and cardboard, torn in strips for faster decay
- Coffee grounds
- Wood ashes
- Grass clippings
- Vegetable and fruit scraps of any kind
- Deadheaded flowers
- Hedge clippings
What Not to Compost:
- Oils, fats, meat, or dairy products, which attract animals
- Large sticks, branches, or bones, which take a long time to decompose
- Anything treated with herbicides or pesticides
- Weeds with seeds, unless you frequently turn your pile so that the added air increases the speed and thus the heat of decomposition, which will kill the seeds
For more easy tricks on how to simplify composting, visit Sally's article "Composting the Lazy Way".