Mother Nature makes dirt production look easy. Take some dead things, a little excrement, add sunlight, sprinkle on some rain. Wait a while, then presto! Brown stuff. Anyone who has ever tried the noble pursuit of composting knows it's not nearly that easy. Who would guess that banana peels and coffee grounds aren't enough to sustain a thriving compost pile? (Or a balanced diet, for that matter.)
According to compost-info-guide.com, the secret to a happy compost pile is the right ratio of brown, carbon-laden material to green, nitrogen-rich material:
"The microorganisms in our compost bins need both carbon and nitrogen to thrive; carbon for energy and nitrogen for protein synthesis. For every one unit of nitrogen used by the bacteria they also consume about 30 units of carbon."
According to the handy chart on the website, dry autumn leaves have a ratio of 50:1, kitchen scraps have a ratio of 12:1 and grass clippings have a ratio of about 20:1 to 30:1. Sound like too much math to make a mound of dirt? Let the Foothills Learning Center simplify things for you. Compost expert Jennie Rylee will teach you how "compost happens" (niiiiiiiice) by demonstrating "a simple recipe for foolproof composting options for containing your pile and how to use the finished product."
Two separate composting classes will take place this week, one on Thursday, March 31, at the Library at Hillcrest and the second at the Foothills Learning Center on Saturday, April 2.