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Pile Composting: How and Why

Composting is great for the garden and beneficial for the environment in general as we reduce the amount of trash going to landfills. Composting can be done on different scales; from huge industrial operations to small home-based systems. In this series of posts I want to share the 4 ways I compost. I already discussed the benefits of trench composting in this post: click here to revisit. In this post, I’ll discuss how to pile compost. One thing that is constant despite the method of composting is the fact that you should only use vegetable waste. You can also use egg shells, but no meats, fats, or dairy products.

Hacer composta es una gran manera de agregar nutrientes a nuestro jardin, y es beneficioso para el ambiente en general ya que ayuda a reducir la cantidad de basura que va al vertedero. La composta se puede hacer en diferentes tamanos, desde sistemas industriales hasta sistemas caseros. En esta serie de posts, quiero compartir informacion de la 4 maneras que yo hago composta en casa. Ya escribi sobre como hacer composta directamente en la tierra del jardin en esta post: Click aqui para ver. En este post voy a hablar de composta en pila. Una cosa que no cambia independiente del tipo de composta es que solo se debe usar desechos vegetales. Tambien se pueden usar cascaras de huevo, pero no carne, grasas, or productos lacteos. 
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Inside: a tea bag, brussel sprout shells, avocado skin, egg shells
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We keep this odor-free ceramic compost collector on the counter next to the sink for scraps and empty it a couple of times a week

Pile composting is the classic garden composting method. The idea is to create pile of material that heats up and breaks down to healthy compost that can be added to the soil. The heat is produced by the bacteria present in the pile that works to break down the material. This is called aerobic decomposition, and the heat speeds up the composting process. If no heat is created, the pile still decomposes but at a slower rate (anaerobic) and this tends to create a bad odor. This is a clue to determine if your compost pile is well balanced or not.

La composta en pila es el tipico metodo. La idea es crea una pila de material que crea un incremento de temperatura y se convierte en composta sana para agregar a la tierra. El calor es creado por bacterias que trabajan en reducir el material. Esto se llama descomposicion aerobica, y el calor ayuda a acelerar el proceso. Si no se crea calor, la pila se descompone mas lentamente (anaerobicamente) y tiende a causar mal olor. Esta es una pista para saber si la pila esta bien balanceada o no.
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To create a healthy balanced pile that will heat up, you need the right ratio of “greens” and “browns”. For green material, I use wet veggie scraps and grass clippings. Browns are dry things like dried leaves, shredded news paper, saw dust or wood shavings. The perfect ratio of material is two units of browns per one unit of green. So if you have a container of veggie scraps to add to the pile, you should also add two containers of the same size of browns. Then everything is mixed with a garden fork to add air, which is key in the aerobic decomposition of material. The heat also helps kill seeds that may be present and any detrimental bacteria.

Para crear una pila balanceada, se necesita usar una cantidad adequada de basura verde y basura cafe. Para los verdes se usa desecho vegetal. Para lo cafe, se usan hojas secas, papel de diaro en tiras, o viruta de madera. La mezcla exacta de material es 2 partes de material cafe por un parte de material verde. Asi que si tienen un pote de basura vegetal que se agrega a la pila, hay que sumarle 2 veces el mismo pote con basura cafe. Luego todo se mezcla con un tenedo de jardin par agregar aire, el cual es la clave para la decomposicion aerobica. El calor tambien ayuda a destruir semillas que existen en la pila y tambien mata bacterias que no son buenas para el jardin.
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On cooler mornings if you turn the material over you can see steam coming out, this is a sign your composting is on track and definitely deserving of a fist pump or celebratory jump. Turning the pile every few days helps provide air to the bacteria, but this should not be done too often or you lose the precious heat. When the compost is done it should be dark colored, with an earthy smell to it. This can be added directly to the garden as a top dressing. I put all my grass clippings in a pile and try to add wood shavings and sawdust from my woodshop. My ratio is not always perfect, but I still turn over the pile every so often and eventually end up with great compost to help the garden grow.

Cuando las mananas son frescas, cuando mueves la pila para airearla, se puede ver vapor saliendo de la composta. Esta es una gran senal que tu composta esta en buen camino y se merece un salto para celebrar! Mover la pila incrementa el aire que ayuda a las bacterias a hacer su trabajo. Es bueno hacerlo cada dos o tres dias, pero no mas seguido porque tambien se pierde el calor que es muy necesario. Cuando la composta esta lista, tiene un colo negro con olor a tierra. Esta se agrega directamente a la tierra. Yo uso el pasto cuando corto el jardin para agregar a mi pila y las virutas de mi taller de madera. Mi mezcla no siempre es perfecta, pero siempre me aseguro de mezclar la pila y eventualmente termino con composta que ayuda a mi jardin. 

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Please send your questions in the comments below or comment on the link on facebook! This is a great topic of garden conversation; everyone has a trick and a method, so please share what you know with the rest of us! In the next post I’ll talk about vermicomposting…I know everyone is excited to hear about worm poop!

Por favor envien sus preguntas en los comentarios abajo o en el link de facebook! Este es un gran tema de conversacion cuando se habla de huertas y jardines; todos tiene un truco o metodo, asi que por favor compartan lo que saben con el resto! En el proximo post hablare sobre composta con gusanos…se que todos estan ansiosos de leer sobre caca de gusanos!

2 thoughts on “Pile Composting: How and Why Leave a comment

  1. Wish I was better at doing this myself, but since I can’t/don’t, I’m lucky to have neighbors (and their chickens!) who love my regular buckets of kitchen scraps. Thanks for your informative posts!

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