Siem Reap, Cambodia is an awesome place to visit- I highly recommend checking it out.
Of course, I was curious how their food waste is handled.
When I was near Angkor Wat, I noticed what appeared to be large scale passive composting efforts.
There were huge piles of leaves gathered up and (I think?) some food scraps in the middle.
I envy the cover material at this place!
Leaves, pine needles (don’t need a lot), dead grass, etc…
I was asked to build up a fresh pile, so I added a good 12″ of base material, then added the food scraps followed by another 6″ of cover materials.
While I doubt it will start up since it’s 20 degrees out, as soon as it’s ready it’ll take off. In the meantime, there’s a few months’ room for weekly contributions until the temperature stays above freezing for a few days.
I’m sure we’ll get our January burst of 70 degree weather for a day out of nowhere, anyway…
Wow, I got really lazy over the last few months in terms of shredding leaves.
Yesterday, I saw there were some bugs flying around the top of the pile and realized it was because the last time I added fresh food to the pile, I forgot to add fresh leaves.
The leaves I re-covered the pile with were un-shredded, and so it was only a matter of time until I needed to fix it.
Not everyone has a shredder, but maybe your neighbor does? It’s really important and makes all the difference.
By doing so, you’ll get greater coverage for your food scraps, the material size is smaller, meaning it’ll get to work quicker and lastly you’ll see much higher composting temperatures.
Further, you’ll be able to store more in your backyard throughout the year when they’re shredded.
Oh yeah- and it’ll eliminate any odors, too.
Shredding your leaves for composting…get to it and reap the benefits. It makes everything easier.
Luckily this wasn’t far from home, so I got to work stashing bags in my yard to last me through the winter.
I’m about to build a new pile altogether and I’m going to need a nice 12-18″ base of leaves (the leachate sponge) to get started… this will do it!
Thanksgiving was a lot of fun- visiting my parents’ house out in the sticks was great.
I really envy the variety of materials they can compost- tons of leaves, dead plants, weeds, pine needles, mosses… most of these items are hard to come by in my neighborhood.
I wish I had my camera- I ended up building up a compost pile for my mom with the food scraps from dinner and huge piles of the aforementioned materials… I was tempted to get a garbage bag and bring a bunch of it home with me!
Man, I screwed up… hope I get to go home for Christmas.
Leaves are the most important ingredient to make excellent compost. While they will compost just as they are, shredding them will increase the efficiency of your pile.
Collect as many leaves as possible during the fall to keep your compost pile cooking through the colder months.
My goal is to show you how to create the best compost with the least amount of time and effort. Let’s cut down on what we send to the landfill and create an excellent soil amendment to grow your plants.
This is just the start of it- stay tuned for even more composting tips!
Be sure to sign up for my free composting course along the right side of this page.
Let me know how your composting is going- I’d love to hear from you.
The leaves are falling- I hope you’re like me and are frantically collecting them for composting.
When I got my leaf shredder, I remember reading something saying 7 bags of unshredded leaves will fit in one single bag… I don’t know about that.
Regardless, I got three relatively large bags into this one big bag.
It saves me space, and more importantly I can get my compost pile cooking.
I’ve been neglecting shredding for several months, as I wanted to compost as if I don’t own a shredder like most people.
My pile has shown this change, as it has only been cooking in the 90F – 110F range instead of the usual 130F+.
Another cool benefit to shredding is that when you add a layer to the compost pile, you can easily spot twigs and sticks that you’d otherwise miss from dumping in a bag of unshredded leaves.
My next post will focus on whether or not my pile jumps in temperature the way I’ve predicted…stay tuned.
I love the fall…tis the season for composting!
I’m very lucky that although I live in an urban area, I have trees that drop tons of leaves right outside my door.
If you’re not this lucky, you may have to go out hunting for leaves…they work better than any other material for balancing out your food scraps in the compost pile.
Plan B involves paper and cardboard- be sure to avoid allowing tape to get in the mix or you’ll be picking it out later.
He mentions pine pellets- I’ve never tried these and I have no clue where a feed store is, but I’m going to look. I’d suggest finding a wood shop instead and asking for their sawdust.
Piles that are sawdust intensive might not yield the best compost ever, but it will get the job done.
Another great video from Green Power Science showing just how hot piles of organic material can get…even when you do nothing!