Connecting Greater Phoenix gardeners with information that helps put xeriscape principles into action.

Composting 1-2-3: Easy as Dirt

Inside the Compost BinI remember my grandma saving kitchen scraps for her garden.  That was a long time ago, when it wasn’t trendy to recycle kitchen scraps.  It was just what farm families did back then.

Today, we call it compost and anyone growing so much as a carrot in their “urban farm” is using it to amend our tough Phoenix soil.  But it’s not so simple as throwing everything into a bin and getting good dirt.  But it’s not terribly hard either.  Here’s how to start getting a hot pile…you can get more fancy later!

  1. Add equal layers, a couple inches thick, of browns (dead leaves) and greens (kitchen scraps) to your bin.
  2. Add enough water to dampen.
  3. Turn pile every 3-7 days, making sure to add enough water to dampen.

I’ll get into more details later, but this is a good starting point.  If you want to read more, check out Composting For Dummies.  It’ll answer all your composting questions…and more!


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Composting 101: Turning Your Pile

I mentioned recently that Phoenix residents could get a $5 compost bin at the City of Phoenix dump, and I just heard that the City of Tempe has now provided its residents with compost bins.  These bins are modified (or new) garbage containers and are a great place to start your composting project.  But they do have a big drawback:  they’re HUGE!

Since turning a compost pile every few days is one of the best ways to get a hot pile, you’ll have to amass some serious upper body strength just to grow some decent veggies! 

So until you can get or build a smaller bin (3 x 3 and not terribly deep), this sturdy little ergonomic pitchfork will come in handy.  It’s stainless steel, so it’s super sturdy (and it cleans off really well) and the ergonomic handle makes it easier to manhandle that massive pile.  Plus, it’s green…and what gardener doesn’t like green?!

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