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Cold Pile Composting

Fun with Cold Pile Composting

Getting down into that buried pile of kitchen scraps once a week or once every two weeks may not sound like fun to some people, but those who understand the whys and hows of composting on the other hand; can have a lot of fun with a cold pile.

Children just love cold pile composting, especially when adults are interested in talking about it. Not everyone is like you or I and enjoys digging up a putrid rotting mass of left-overs just to pile more on, but that could change if they knew what is so kool about it all.

Like most cold pile composters, I look forward to that special day every two weeks when I can open up my cold pile and harvest some “black-gold of the earth.” And sure enough, I can, as long as I keep a couple of practical things in mind like:

  1. Are only organic wastes going into the pile? (left-overs, kitchen scraps, paper, wood…etc)
  2. Are these materials going into the pile free of harmful agents? (toxic wastes, high concentrations of insecticide or other pollutants…etc)
  3. Is the pile itself free of harmful agents that might be nearby? (acid rain, leaking sewer system, gas station or mechanic’s run-off…etc)

If we answer YES to all of those and keep our basic rules of cold pile composting in order, like carbon/nitrogen ratio and keeping new material well distributed throughout the pile with ample oxygen supply, two weeks is all it should take without a single scent.

Reminding people that for every 1 part of rotting animal or plant mass we throw along something like between 25 to 30 parts high carbon based materials: dry leaves, dry straw, newspaper, cardboard, woodchips or sawdust the pile might scare some people, but it should do the work itself if left alone.

What makes cold pile composting fun? Not the hows, but the whys! It may sound strangely religious, and I guess it is after all, but communion with nature and the earth!

I don’t want this entry to sound too personal, but when I get my hands in the dirt, I can feel myself connecting somehow, in a spiritual way.

To really get down to the earth and put your heart into making that cold pile; something that mother nature can be proud of; is not hard at all to do, but putting your heart into it, that is something that makes the pile take on a whole different meaning.

Nobody should ever be ashamed of having fun while composting a cold pile, it is as noble an art as any other composting technique, probably due to its simplicity. I myself just pick up a bag of sawdust at the furniture mill up the street and throw it over my pile once a month, looks great and smells like Douglas FirJ

Kids like to listen about why we compost, and showing them how simple it can be with a cold pile is a sure fire way to get more people back in tune with their heritage (the earth).

Cold pile composting is fun because it is prewritten in our very cells, from a time when our ancestors knew what it meant to respect the very soil we eat from.

Rejoice in the simplicity of composting your own cold pile today, be proud of that feeling, tell others and always try to just “let go” of all those worries, be one with the soil and you will be happy.




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