Building a Compost Heap        

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  1. Accumulate vegetation, kitchen garbage, etc., over the season, letting it dry in the pile. Avoid sticks, bark, sawdust, which is very slow to break down - they can compost elsewhere.
  2. When you have a good sized pile, you need 3 other ingredients:
    * good water, rain water is better than city water
    * garden soil, which helps to bind up the nitrogen from the breakdown of proteins into ammonia, which soil microbes turn into nitrate that plants can use.
    * and a good nitrogen source (strong stuff) to balance the high carbon dry stuff - fresh or dry chicken manure (without bedding), seed meal, feather meal or alfalfa meal.
    * Goal is a C:N ratio of 25:1
  3. With a fork take dry material from your pile and spread it in an open space - making a pile about 5-6 feet in diameter and 8 inches thick.
  4. Cover with 1/2 inch of good garden soil (about 1 1/4 cubic feet or ~10 gallons).
  5. Then cover with 3 quarts of seedmeal or 2 gallons of chicken manure
  6. Water everything well so it is thoroughly damp
  7. Repeat the process with the dry stuff, soil, strong stuff and water.
  8. Repeat the process until your pile is 4 to 5 feet high.
  9. Finish with a thin layer of soil over the entire outside of the heap

Within a couple days the pile should be heating up. If it does not, it needs more nitrogen.

After a few weeks, when the temperature begins to drop, turn the pile by forking it over to the spot where the original dry vegetable was. Redampen the pile as you turn it, without making it soggy wet. The pile is ready when you can't recognize the original material, itís dark brown, loose and crumbly, and sweet smelling.

Procedure from Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times, by Steve Solomon

This compost is intended to be used along with Steve's Complete Organic Fertilizer