Gail of Green Living

Heat It Up!

There are a few weeds in my compost!  They keep coming up; they do not care if there is a drought or a freeze.  Weeds are relentless!  I did some research this morning to see how I can minimize weeds in the future.


The USDA and the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Cooperative Extension Service have some solutions:  (1)Add a microbial source. Top the organic layer with a 1-inch layer of soil or completed compost. Doing so delivers the microbes needed for decomposition and reduces the leaching of mineral nutrients during the composting process.

(2)  Add nitrogen, either as ammonium sulfate or manure works, too.

(3)  Water each layer (I do that regularly), and make sure it isn’t soggy.

(4) Give it air.  Punch holes in the side of it.  I find turning it incorporates air into it.  Turning is supposed to keep the temperature more uniform.  The center of the pile should reach about 145 degrees F.  With the proper temperature, the volume is reduced, odors dissipate and those pesky weed seeds die.  For some reason, mine has not been getting there!!

(5)  If you do get weeds, pull them out before they have a chance to go to seed.


“I’ve turned over a new leaf” on this project by turning, adding ammonium sulfate and more watering !  Are there other ideas I’m missing?


Pumpkin Surprise!
November 12, 2011, 10:31 am
Filed under: Gardening, Green Living | Tags: , , , , , ,

After you’ve finished celebrating Halloween, compost your jack-o-lanterns,  instead of tossing them in the garbage.  I cook mine, but I still have plenty left for the compost pile–the ends and stems and the peel after cooking.  I wash the seeds and roast them; they are very nutrituous.

Pumpkins, which of course are 100% natural, will break down quickly as  compost in your yard, providing you with valuable nutrients for your lawn or  garden. As you probably know by now, pumpkins aren’t exactly light, so they  otherwise take a considerable amount of fuel to haul to the landfill — plus  their bulky size means they take up space.

To get the best results in your compost pile, cut up the pumpkin a bit to provide more surface area. Layer with other types of  materials, like shredded leaves, green weeds or grass clippings. If you want to maximize the opportunity, add manure, or a nitrogen supplement like cottonseed meal bone meal or dried blood (you might have some of that left from Halloween, too!). Keep the pile moist and turn it over frequently.  Once a week I add a compost maker.  Some items, like pine needles, need a boost.

If all that sounds like too much work, don’t worry about it. In most areas,  you can simply toss things in a pile, and just alternate materials as you get  them. It may not make the most super-dooper compost, and it may take a little  longer to break down, but you’ll still get some nice nutrients, and you’ll be  helping the planet one little bit at a time.

And you may get a surprise in your compost:

Pumpkin Plants

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