For those who have never composted before, it is pretty simple. Generally speaking, you put a bunch of food stuff (not meat, dairy or fats) in a pile, they decompose and eventually nice soil is made. There are some specific ratios you can utilize to speed up the process and make a “hot” compost that can be ready in a month or two, but cold compost – made by the slow breaking down of material by bacteria, fungi and other living organisms – can often take up to 2 years. In my home we compost a lot of things that we probably shouldn’t. Part of how I can do this is because we have black soldier flies. The larvae of Black Soldier flies is able to eat meat, fat and dairy. In fact, they are extremely effective at doing so – especially in the heat of the summer. When the larvae have consumed the majority of the food in the bin I use for them, I clean out the bin, leaving most of the larvae, and spread the effluent and residual material around in my leaf pile. While I do not make an exact science of my green-brown (nitrogen-rich vs. carbon-rich) material, given that I utilize worms to consume much of the material, it works out pretty well for everyone.
The other aspect to my compost making is leaves. Lots and lots of leaves. The majority of the time, there is only 3-10 days in the fall when I can gather leaves. They are in a neighborhood in another part of the city that has a lot of deciduous trees. I bring my van, lots of black bags and a rake. If I am lucky, I can get a family member or two who is willing to help. I gather the leaves then store them in my backyard as the base for my future compost.
When all the leaves and other stuff has been broken down by worms, bacteria, fungus and bugs, I sift it through some ½ inch hardware cloth (a type of metal screen) then I add it to my pots, plots and anything else I feel will benefit from some additional compost.
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