Spent plants, potting soil and autumn leaves make excellent compost materials. Break them into smaller pieces and wet them down as you add them to the pile. (Photo Courtesy Phil Peters)

Since the earlier article on composting, I hope you have tried your hand at starting a compost pile and are having a successful time. We suggested thinking in terms of colors: brown for high carbon materials, green for high nitrogen ones, and clear for water and air that are necessary for the decomposers to move around and live. A brown layer might be 4-to-6-inches thick, followed by a green layer 2-to-3-inches thick and enough water to moisten the material like a damp sponge. Mix it all together, turn it periodically, and let nature take her course.

Let’s look at what constitutes these colors and consider some materials that people often ask about.

Phil Peters is a Penn State Master Gardener from Adams County. Penn State Cooperative Extension of Adams County is located at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Suite 204, Gettysburg, phone 334-6271.

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