To aim for when building a compost pile

Given the importance of nitrogen for making proteins, you might think you should aim to use only stuff with the lowest possible C:N ratio as ingredients in your compost pile. This opinion might be reinforced by learning that the microorganisms that do most of the work in the compost pile have a C:N ratio between four and nine (people have a similar ratio).

However, as we'll see (pages 28-29), nitrogen-rich material on its own has some unfortunate implications for the air supply to your compost pile. Moreover, bacteria don't just need a C:N ratio suitable for turning into more bacteria: much of the carbon in their food is simply "burned," or respired, away as carbon dioxide (CO2). In fact, about two-thirds of the carbon consumed by bacteria is given off as CO2, so

Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but didn't know what to do? Here are the best tips on how to become a true and envied organic gardner.

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