7 Ways to Speed up Your Compost

7 Ways to Speed up Your Compost You want to harvest your compost as quick as you can. Here are 7 ways to speed up the decomposition process. Balance carbon and nitrogen Balancing your high-carbon materials with high-nitrogen materials will speed up your compost bin. High-carbon materials tend to be brown and dry, such as dried leaves, straw and wood chips. High-nitrogen materials are green, such as grass clippings, or they’re colorful, such as fruit and vegetable peels. One item that doesn’t follow that rule is manure from horses and cows. Manure is brown, but it is a high-nitrogen material. The most efficient composting occurs with a carbon-to-nitrogen mix of about 20:1. That means that you want about 20 times more dried leaves (by volume) than fruit peels. A chart from Cornell Waste Management Institute shows some carbon-to-nitrogen ratios for typical materials, based on dry weight. The ratios with a small first number are high-nitrogen materials and the ratios with a large first number are high-carbon materials. (Note that some of these materials have a range for their content.) Here are the carbon-to-nitrogen ratios for some typical materials: Poultry manure, from 3:1 to 15:1 Cow manure, 20:1 Horse manure, from 20:1 to 50:1 Food waste, about 15:1 Fresh grass clippings, 15:1 Sun-dried grass clippings, 20:1 Oak leaves, 40:1 to 80:1 Straw, 50:1 to 150:1 Sawdust, 200:1 to 750:1 Newsprint, 400:1 to 850:1 Corrugated cardboard, about 560:1 Maintain moisture The microbes in your compost bin need water, but not too much …

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Onions Can Be Started From Seed—in Winter!

Even if you have snow on the ground, you can do some gardening: Plant seeds inside for cool weather vegetables, such as onions. Working with cool weather vegetables such as onions not only gives you something to do during winter, it gives you a head start on spring planting. As the name implies, cool weather vegetables can withstand cool temperatures—much cooler than tender vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, can tolerate. That allows your onion seedlings to be planted outside when the air and soil temperatures are just 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Tender plants, such as tomatoes and peppers, can’t be planted outside until the air temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit, even at night. Learn how to plant seeds inside in our previous article here. KINDS OF ONIONS We carry two different varieties of onion this year. ‘Siskiyou Sweet’ onion is very mild and sweet. You can eat the green tops as if they were scallions. The ‘New York Early’ onion stores well. It’s sweet, but with more bite than ‘Siskiyou Sweet’. See all the seeds we offer here.   TRANSPLANTING OUTSIDE A week before you plan to transplant your seedlings outside, start to harden off your seedlings. Put them outside for a short period to get them used to brighter light and cooler temperatures than you have inside your house. Each day, place them outside for a longer period so that when you transplant them, they aren’t shocked. Make sure conditions are suitable before you transplant seedlings outside. In …

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