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How To Compost ft Adrienne Jones

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Show Notes

Join Nicole and Adrienne as they talk about common struggles when composting, the basic concepts and how to compost!

What You’ll Learn

  • The 3 common mistakes beginners make (myself included!)
  • Components for successful composting
  • Brown materials vs green materials
  • Deterring wildlife and pests
  • How to use compost
  • Tips for using tumblers

Our Guest

Our guest for this episode is Adrienne Jones, a certified Master Composter through the Denver Urban Garden. After years of failing, Adrienne completed the Master Composter Training and is now sharing her extensive knowledge with us.

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    Nicole: Good morning everybody, and thank you for joining us for another episode of Backyard Bounty. I'm your host Nicole, and today we're joined by Adrienne, and she's a master composter with the Denver Urban Gardens and she's here to help us all be amazing successful composters even if we've failed in the past. So, Adrienne thank you so much for joining me today.

    Adrienne: Thank you so much for having me.

    Nicole: So can you tell us some more about what this master composter means?

    Adrienne: Yeah, so, one day I was just rooting around some garden groups like we do, and I came across Denver urban gardens which is a fantastic organization that helps community members build community gardens in their area. And I believe they have over 170 community gardens up and running, and in the Denver Metro area. And as part of their work, they, every year have this master compost your training. So, what that involves is we spend about eight weeks doing coursework, really end up on composting, about two hours a week. And then from there, they have a community garden in Denver that functions as their compost demonstration site. So then we go there and we build a multitude of different compost piles and really get that hands on experience of how to do it, how it's working, troubleshooting, we maintain the piles all summer long, and then what we do in return for this training is we teach at their community gardens or different events that DUG has relationships with to kind of spread the good word about composting.

    Nicole: And that brings us to where we are today.

    Adrienne: Exactly. This was a very unique opportunity to kind of get to a different audience of why we're pushing composting and the benefits, and how to hopefully get a little bit better at it.

    Nicole: Well, I can say as a failed composter for many years, despite multiple attempts, I appreciate your willingness to share your information because I know I'm taking notes for myself.

    Adrienne: And honestly, when I came across the training, I was like, this would be great because I suck at this. So, I think a lot of this, each year, it's actually kind of competitive. They get about 100 applicants and they only select three, five, and we actually do interviews to be part of this program. So, it's just, there's a lot of us that are like, "We failed at this. We failed at this." So, I think a lot of the group is really minded on the environment and sustainability and the ways that we can be stewards of our earth.

    Nicole: I think that's really great. And it sounds kind of our master gardener here where there's a lot of people interested and those lucky few that get in definitely take full advantage of the opportunity ahead of them.

    Adrienne: Exactly.

    Nicole: So what are the different types of composting? I know I've tried piles before there might be a more technical term for that, and then tumblers kind of the two that I've tried. Is there any other ones?

    Adrienne: There's so many different versions and I would say, what we always tell people is you got to pick the system that works for you. I would highly recommend for people if you haven't read, let it rot and the author is escaping me and I apologize, that author literally goes through trench composting, piles, tumblers rotation systems, what we call passive composting where you literally throw it on the ground and in a couple years it might decompose. What DUG is a big proponent of is typically a compost pile that is on the ground. We can talk a little bit further about the differences between the pile and the tumbler. The nice thing about having it outside is that you have, and on the ground is that you have more opportunities for all of your micro organisms that do the decomposition process, and later, your decomposition insects to kind of get in there and make the work a little bit faster and you get more volume typically. One caveat to a tumbler is that you can't necessarily fit as much material in a tumbler and still be able to move it than you can have freestanding or semi contained pile.

    Nicole: Well, I know that for me, when trying the ground system and maybe we could talk about this more later, but I had an issue with it attracting the rodents. That put a stop to that pretty quick.

    Adrienne: Okay, so why don't we talk about, kind of what goes in a compost pile? And I can give you some tips on how to change maybe how you're using your pile to reduce the rodent effect.

    Nicole: Wonderful.

    Adrienne: When we're talking about a compost pile and probably the thing that you and your audience are probably already familiar with, is we have this mysterious mixture of brown materials which are carbon rich materials and green materials which are nitrogen rich. Your brown materials are typically, if you are a homeowner, and have some trees, leaves are a really good source for your brown material. If you don't have access to leaves, we recommend straw if you can find it so long as it's been untreated. And then in small amounts, you can use things like paper and cardboard. We caution against using too much of that material because I don't know if you've ever set a whole bunch of broken down boxes outside in the rain, but it tends to get too compacted, and then you have a really hard time maintaining it and turning it and air reading it. So, that's our browns.

    Adrienne: Our greens, are going to be the nitrogen rich materials which can include things like food scraps from your kitchen, to a limited extent, grass clippings from your lawn. As just a quick side note, DUG actually really recommends that you leave grass clippings on your lawn, it does not contribute to the buildup of fache and it creates a shade barrier for our lawns, which most Colorado lawns are actually a cool weather crop, which is why at this point in the season, most of our yards are brown, because it is just too hot. So, again, with grass clippings, if you've ever left a bag of grass clippings out they get very compacted and very smelly very fast. We also recommend that people don't use a tonne of them. Coffee grounds, tea bags without the staple are all other great sources of greens.

    Adrienne: To just give your audience the real basics of building a pile. If you are building an outside pile, you need to have a volume of about three square feet. So, you're looking at three feet deep, three feet wide and three feet high. If you go on Pinterest, you can find every homemade compost container that you could imagine. Our demonstration site has some really simple structures built out of cinder block, we have some built out of ski fence with some chicken wire, again, to kind of help with that wildlife component. Or they can just be freestanding, just so long as you get that volume. If you don't have the volume, you don't get the heat, and if you don't get the heat, then that's when our compost piles kind of die.

    Adrienne: My experience with the tumbler having improperly maintained it, is that I could never generate the heat. And so, it would take like two years for everything to really break down for me to have it be usable. So, if you're really trying to get compost out of one season, you need to get that heat up and the volume and the materials, and your micro organisms are what make that happen. So, as you're building a pile, you're actually going to open up the ground, if you've picked a spot, you're going to open up the ground and that is going to allow the microorganisms that are living in your soil to migrate into your compost pile. Mistake number one that I made with my compost piles, especially a tumbler, I didn't have dirt. There was no micro organisms in my tumbler to start the process. So, I think that's something that people don't realize right off the bat, is if you're using a contained system like that, you do need to add soil.

    Nicole: Guilty.

    Adrienne: Yeah, I'm telling you, I've done it all. And then from there we typically tell people to think of it as a lasagna, where you're having about two thirds browns and one third greens. So, we say that this roughly measures about three to four inches of browns and one to two, two to three greens. If you're like me, who's very number obsessed, one way that you can kind of ensure some proper ratios is if you want to use a five gallon bucket, fill two five gallon buckets with your leaves and one with your food scraps or yard waste. It's another good way to just kind of keep your ratios in check if you're worried about that.

    Adrienne: So, we recommend just layering it up so you kind of get to that three to four feet high. As you're layering you add water, water is what keeps your microphones organisms alive, if your pile gets too dry, they go away. Same if it gets too compacted. So, that's why we always talk about turning the pile. Turning the pile with a compost fork, a manure fork, some people use a matic. All of your little micro organisms will eventually kind of congregate in the center. And that's where our heat comes from. And if we don't turn the pile, they lose their food source. So, turning that pile gets the air going for them. And then it basically rotates the food so they have something new to work on. They're like, "Oh, hey, we've got new leaves. Let's do this."

    Nicole: And how often should we be turning our pile?

    Adrienne: It's not nearly as much as I admit, I thought it needed to be. So, when I first started my tumbler, I'm like, "I got to turn this every day." No. When you're first getting it going every seven to 10 days, and then once it's finished the heating process then really, you could take it down to once a month. So, another common misconception is that a compost pile stays hot for a long time. It doesn't. It stays hot for about a week. In that heating process, if you get it to kind of that ideal temperature, I want to say like 130, 140, that's going to kill any seeds that might be in your pile, plenty weed seeds. People will occasionally have volunteers in their garden that are like, "Oh, that must have come from the compost pile." If you get it warm enough, you shouldn't have that happen.

    Adrienne: Things to not add to your pile are meats, cheeses, fats, bones, those are all animal attractants. On the animal side, one thing that I didn't know as I was working on my compost piles is that you actually don't have to use food scraps and in most community gardens, it is considered best practices not to use food scraps at all, they're not allowed, because if your piles are not properly maintained, when you're using food scraps, you will get wildlife. So, when I refer to properly maintained, I think what a lot of us do, and I know I've done it, is you have that, you're like, "Oh, I ate an apple, let's call it in the tumbler, let's toss it on the compost pile," and we walk away. That's not how to do it. So, if you do have an open pile outside, that needs to get buried in. Burying it in will help with keeping deterring the wildlife.

    Adrienne: Another great way to deter wildlife is, like I said, to not use food scraps and so, a great substitute is actually weeds. I had no idea that we could compost with just the everyday weeds that we have in our yards and gardens. So, a couple of notes about weeds. You definitely, as a backyard composter, you don't want to put in anything that is, let's say, particularly problematic. So bind weed, don't put that in there. Anything that's poisonous, hemlock don't put that in there, but I tend to avoid the soil just because it's extra algae. And then the way that you can treat weeds is if you have weeds with fibrous roots, so, your really thin root system, they can go in. When you have weeds that have a taproot like a dandelion, a thistle as well that kind of have that thicker root, cut off the root. Obviously, if you've got dandelions and they've gone to seed, don't put that in there. You can take the leaves, take the stem, but chop off the flower, chop off the seeds.

    Adrienne: Another common mistake that I was making and I think a lot of people are making, is not breaking up your material before putting it into the compost pile. I certainly wasn't doing it. I was dumping in leaves, dumping in relatively whole bits of food waste, banana peels, egg shells, just going to town. We're dealing with micro organisms, they have very tiny mouths. So, your compost piles will be a lot more effective if you break down your material as you're building it. So, when we were building compost piles for the demonstration site, we're lucky enough to have a chipper shredder to put leaves and sticks through. You can also, if leaves are dried out, crumble them by hand is also very sufficient. If you've got a leaf blower that has a mulch function, even better. With weeds, we would just take garden shears and chop stuff up into about one to two inch pieces. It's nothing that you need to slap a ruler out for, it's just you're trying to break it down a little bit further, and it just helps with that getting that heat going.

    Adrienne: We typically get a lot of twigs that get into our compost piles and anything that doesn't process in the first go around, what you do, is you can have a sifter, it's some hardware cloth, a wood frame, wheelbarrow and just sift out those bigger chunks and put them in the next compost pile. I personally tend to edit a little bit. I'm not going to put a banana peel in because I know it's going to take much longer than some dead spinach. If you're using egg shells, rinse them out first then let them dry, then put them in the blender. If you put them in with their gue in it, it's just a disaster. I've done that as well. So, rinse, dry, chop up, then they'll decompose a lot faster. So, those are just some helpful things to think about.

    Adrienne: With food scraps, if you want to do composting with food scraps, you just need to keep in mind that things need to be buried when you're using them. The other misconception that I also had about compost piles is that you can continuously add to them, you can't. And this gets to be a frustrating point for many people. Once you've hit that heat process which should happen within a couple of weeks. If you keep adding material, you're kind of stopping that process and restarting it. So, after it's gone through its heat cycle, the compost actually just needs to sit there and cure. If you were to throw it on your garden after that heat process it would really screw up your soil environment. So, we actually recommend for about two months, compost just hangs out.

    Adrienne: The nice thing about being in Colorado, is that with DUG, we started compost piles in late April, early May, depending on the weather. They get heated up within a couple of weeks. You can literally open a pile and steam will come out, because it's still typically a little bit cool. And then we just let it sit, like I said, turn it every once in a while. And so, now by October, we're actually in the next couple of weeks, we're going to be going to the demo site and sifting the compost out, and cleaning up all the piles and then the best thing to do in terms of using compost in your garden, or on your lawn, compost is a great top dressing for your lawn instead of using commercial fertilizers. I've definitely used revive. That's supposed to be an aerator. If you have your lawn aerated, you can go through with a seed spreader, fertilizer spreader and apply compost. It's a great alternative. In terms of your garden, if you put it on in fall, winter kind of gives it enough time to really finish the curing and the snow and time will allow the nutrients to kind of slowly release into your soil. So, fall is a really great time to apply your compost and let it have that time to rest. And then in spring, you'll just be ready to go.

    Nicole: Awesome. So, you mentioned a couple times that the piles go through this heat process, what's the best way to know that you've reached that point?

    Adrienne: So, a couple of things happen in those first couple of weeks. One thing that you might have noticed with your piles if it's happened, is getting like a white, I don't want to say film, but almost like a mold, looks like a mold on your piles. And I think everybody freaks out, "Oh my gosh, what is that?" It's actually a particular fungus. It's actually very good. That means that everybody's happy. Once that white film appears, I find that if you want to just, as you're turning your pile, crack it open on the top, steam is going to come out. You'll be able to feel it. It's not hot enough to burn you, but if you hover your hand over it, you're going to feel it. Also, stores do sell compost thermometers, they're basically a meat thermometer, much bigger. So, if you're really curious, they're 10, 20 bucks. You can stick those in your compost piles to see what temperature they're hitting.

    Nicole: Okay. And then you also mentioned adding water to the pile, and I should have asked this earlier, but how much water?

    Adrienne: Yes. So, that one's always very confusing for people and very stressful for people. So, we always say that you want your pile to have the wetness of a really well wrung out sponge. So, if you pick up your compost leaves, whatever and squeeze it, it's not going to drip water. That being said, we're in Colorado. So, there's a couple of things I like for people to think about. If you're using leaves as your carbon, they will suck up a shocking amount of water. So, I tell people to air on the side of caution and over water versus underwater. So, as you're first building your pile, if it's feeling really, really wet, it's okay, because we're in Colorado. So, you can come back a few days later and check on it and see if it's still really, really wet, because we're in such a semi arid climate, it'll dry out a little bit. The thing you just want to avoid is having it dry out completely.

    Adrienne: The other thing that we recommend to kind of help retain moisture in our climate is actually covering the compost piles. We cover ours with some thick plastic tarps. This helps retain heat, retain moisture, and we tend to live in a windy area, so it keeps all of the materials together versus it just blowing away. For people that are like, "Eew, plastic," which I respect, burlap is something that you can use. I imagine that any, I think of muslin fabric, like straight cotton so long as it has been washed and doesn't have, most fabric comes with chemicals on it, could also be used and then we just throw some rocks on it, to keep it down, so it doesn't blow away.

    Nicole: I feel like this might be a good way to reuse some of my old feedbags-

    Adrienne: Probably. Yeah, so with the water, it's just, the thing about a compost pile is we all kind of, we know that it needs attention, but then we also tend to think well it's just doing a natural process anyways, so why do I have to maintain it or do anything? So, I think, myself in particular I have gotten lazy, thrown some stuff in the tumbler, kind of turn it for the first couple of weeks, life happens and then walk away and then a couple months later come back and wonder why nothing's happened. And it is just because their compost piles are really still living things. You've got a lot of micro organisms and bugs which I should touch upon that are in that thing working. So, it needs TLC, it needs the water, it needs the occasional turn, it doesn't need a lot, but it still needs a little bit, just like we need water, we need exercise. If you want to get compost in three to four months, versus two to four years, you need to just give it a little bit more love.

    Adrienne: One thing I did want to mention was bugs, some people, not a fan of bugs. I respect that and I get it. When you do have outside piles thing that is really amazing is that nature knows what it's doing. So, when the pile goes through its heat phase, nothing's really in there because bugs are like, "Okay, if I go in there, it's going to be too hot. I'm going to die." You'll know when your compost pile has finished its heat cycle because all the bugs move in. You will have more pill bugs than you ever knew could possibly exist in one area and they are larger decomposers, they are eating on that material with the microorganisms. So, they're very beneficial. Wolf spiders will get in there, centipedes will get in there, that is all perfectly normal. I occasionally, we'll see people that are like, "Oh, should I add worms to my compost pile?" And I always freak out because some people are like, "Oh yeah, it's great." And I'm like, "Stop. If it's a new pile and it's heating up, you're just going to kill your worms." If it is outside, they will move in as the heat has passed, and continue eating down your material and breaking it down.

    Nicole: Okay. And since we can't add any more material to the compost bin once it's doing its thing, what do you think about starting multiple piles?

    Adrienne: So, quite frankly, I generate enough food scraps that my entire yard could probably be a compost pile at this point. Some people will have a three bins system, which is exactly what it sounds like because they have kind of three little compartments right next to each other, pallets, wonderful thing to build it out of, and they'll start piles in one or two of them and then one can be a holding area. And what we recommend with that, is that you put browns in and you put food scraps in and you slowly kind of build up your pile as your materials become available. And then as you hit that three cubic feet, you're like, "Okay, now it's time to shut it down," get your water going, get your turning going. But still, you have to wait and still you're eating vegetables in your house.

    Adrienne: There are a couple of different things that we recommend for reducing food scraps while compost piles are percolating. Some people, if you're fortunate enough to have a deep freezer, will freeze their food scraps. Whether you do it plastic buckets, water view, and then when they're ready to build a new pile, they have their green material available. We also recommend vermicomposting in terms of getting rid of food scraps. So, that is worm composting which we can talk a little bit if you want. I started a warm bin this past March. They are a very low maintenance pet, and they can eat about a half a pound of food scraps a day. They are another great opportunity to lessen your food waste. And then what you do with the warms as you harvest their castings, which are another great soil amendment fertilizer that you can use in your gardens or with your house plants.

    Nicole: We actually have a whole episode coming up a vermicomposting. I do that as well. I think It's definitely a great resource, because of my challenges with outdoor composting. I said, well, let's just try the indoor routine.

    Adrienne: Yeah. And the nice thing is that, they're relatively easy. You provide some water, you provide some newspaper, and food and they kind of just do their own thing. And if you forget to feed them for a week, they've got newspaper, they're going to be okay. I have a four year old, almost five year olds, so for him this is like super exciting. To feed the worms. So, it's a nice way to get I think kids involved too, because what little kids don't like worms.

    Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. So kind of going back to the holding bins and a multi bin system. So, you mentioned when we want to build our first bin, the lasagna layering method, but with our holding bins, is that not so important?

    Adrienne: It's not as important. So, this is where things get into that art space versus science. I always think of composting as, it's very technical if you get into it, but then at a certain point, this is when you enter that space of, "We're just going to put some stuff together and see what happens." With that holding space, we just recommend that you've got, some people will use trash cans, they'll line them with leaves and then put their food scraps in the middle. The key is that you don't want your food scraps out. So, and then with a lot of food scraps, or even just weeds, if they get too dried out, then they become a brown, so they lose their green effectiveness.

    Adrienne: If you're going to have a holding one, I really recommend that you keep adding the greens in, to kind of maintain your moisture. Greens will bring a lot of moisture to that area. And then making sure that once you kind of get up there that you have the leaves or straw to add till you get to that three to four foot high. So, if you're imagining a pallet, if you've gotten it a third or a half full with food scraps plus a little bit of leaf action to keep your smell down, then you're going to want to pile on the rest of your leaves, mix it up, and then seal it off.

    Nicole: So, is this something that let's say, well, maybe I should ask this question first. Can you start a compost pile at any time of year or do you need to only do it in the spring?

    Adrienne: The decomposition process will happen in winter. It's just that it slows so much. Think about our dirt freezes. If you have materials in a tumbler and you already have them outside, they can still be doing their thing, you can still turn on once a month, it's just going to be a lot slower. So, when people think of compost or like, I want to get this in tumblers often promised like, "Oh, and six to eight weeks, you can have compost you're," you're like, "You might be able to, if you maintain it really, really well and get your ratios down really, really well."

    Adrienne: But it's just generally easier in summer and because it's so helpful to apply it and fall, there's just a really great natural timeline there. What I do, is get that compost out of my beds in fall, and then I have my husband mulch up, pick up the leaves and fall and put them in those big brown paper bags. Those will stay outside in winter and not break down. So, we just leave them kind of in the backyard up against the house, I'll have five or six bags, and then when spring comes along and I start, and I start saving more food scraps up again, then we're just ready to go.

    Nicole: Okay, that kind of answers my question, because in my head, I was thinking, well, you're going to let all of this great resource go to waste, so how can we use them? But that definitely makes sense.

    Adrienne: Yeah, and one thing I did forget to mention about our lasagna layer, there's always something to forget, is as you're building those layers, you want to continue to sprinkle dirt in because the dirt is the key. I know we've all heard of inoculants or compost activators, you don't need any of that. It's really your soil. Just grabbing a couple handfuls from the garden bed, and just putting a little bit more and just like we do with the warm beds actually, different reason, but just keeping adding a little bit of dirt to get those good guys in there.

    Nicole: So, it doesn't matter what kind of soil you have on your property, you're just after the microorganisms in there?

    Adrienne: Yep. I mean unless for some reason that your soil is really poor quality and really dead, you should be fine. I'm trying to think of... Colorado is notorious for its clay soil. Unless you're building a pot out of it, you're probably going to be okay. And I have worked with garden beds that were like that and we amended with compost to get that change. But yeah, run of the mill dirt should cover it if stuffs not happening, then you can maybe troubleshoot and grab some dirt from a friend, try some different locations, and just grab a couple handfuls and see what happens, but it should be fine.

    Nicole: Okay. So do you have any tips then, kind of specifically for tumblers?

    Adrienne: A couple of things that we recommend with tumblers is, I think with tumblers it's really easy to slowly add materials in, and we've actually been taught to ready your materials outside of the tumbler, then put it in, because you're really sure about, okay, I've got a good mix. It's got a good diversity of materials and you're basically walking it off. Making sure that you get as much as you can get in there without being unable to turn it. And with tumblers, because I think a lot of people think, well, it's off the ground and it's in this big black or dark green thing it should be keeping water in it, it doesn't. It fries out. So, I find that my tumbler dries out very, very quickly because they have those rods in there for you to tumble them but that also brings in a lot of air, and the black is obviously bringing a lot of heat which, yes, you want the heat, but you don't want the drying out. So, I just feel that was tumblers you have to stay a little bit more on it to make sure that they don't dry out.

    Nicole: Okay.

    Adrienne: And that they don't get too compacted. You see some steel drum tumblers out there and great, but also can get really heavy and then you know gravity's doing its job and kind of pressing it all down. So, if you're not rotating it, that seven to 10 days, it can just get really compacted and that's when things can go anaerobic. So, when you hear people talk about their compost pile smelling like something awful, it's because there's too much water and not enough air and it creates an ammonia smell. And I think between that and rodents is a big deterrent for people to compost. But if you maintain your pile, make sure it's getting the air, not getting too wet, not getting too dry, the compost pile will have a little bit of the smell to it when it first gets going, but then after that it's going to be that typical nice earthy soil smell.

    Nicole: Is there any other kind of common issues that you've found people have experienced with composting?

    Adrienne: I think people using really just improper materials. We can all go to Starbucks these days and get a five pound bag of coffee grounds and people are like, "I'm going to put all of those on my compost pile." We recommend that compost piles be very diverse. You don't want to have just leaves and just coffee grounds. It's kind of our own diets. You need to have a little bit of everything to be healthy. So, we recommend that people don't just stick to one or two nitrogen sources, vary it up a bit. Other common things that I see people do, again, using too much paper, too much grass clippings, and having it smell and get slimy and gross. It's too wet. Manure is always a hot topic. Sounds like you have chickens. And people are always asking me, "Well, can I use horse manure, or can I use chicken manure? Can I put that in the pile?" We typically say, "Don't," only because and it really depends on the animal but manure tends to have more salt in it, and can raise the salt content of your soil.

    Adrienne: And frankly, I haven't done enough research into the manure bit to know where the lines are drawn. We do say absolutely never put dog or cat feces in there, that is just pathogens. Some people will still insist on putting earthworms in there. I told them not to, but okay, because that's not even what you do vermicomposting with, these are specific red wiggler surface dwelling, decomposition eating worms. And some common sense too. I had somebody come up to me the other day and they're, "Oh, I bought some compost activator." I'm like, "You don't need it." And they're, "Yeah, but it's actually breaking down the crab legs." Maybe don't put crab legs in your compost pile. That comes into that editing piece, right? Especially now as we're coming into fall, people are going to dump full pumpkins in there. Don't do that. One, it's going to turn into a slimy mess, but if you really do want to use the pumpkins, at least chop them up.

    Nicole: I know that several of these, well, probably actually all of the things that you've mentioned not do, except for the pet waste, I've been doing, all of those.

    Adrienne: I've left the dirt out. I've kept throwing stuff in, never chopped stuff up, all of it. And so, the course was really fantastic, because even though I think there's a lot of literature out there, I felt I had read enough. And frankly, reading up on composting, not exactly the most exciting thing ever. Maybe it's set to break up materials and I just missed it, but I feel I'd never heard of that anywhere. I had certainly never been privy to using weeds. Didn't think that, that was an option. So it was really, it was just so helpful, and to do it at their community garden, to build multiple piles over two weekends, and then be able to go back in two weeks and see the warmth coming off, being like okay, this is what it is, I got this now.

    Nicole: Does the master composter program have any resources online for people that might want to learn more in depth?

    Adrienne: I would go to I do know that they offer which is absolutely no help to you, I believe you are in Pueblo, they offer every Saturday, a free two hour classes as well. We have great handouts, I can try to send you a couple of copies if you want to be able to have them available to people, and that really just kind of summarizes a lot of the information that we went over today, but they're an excellent resource. They have a section of their website that is, ask jungle Judy, basically any questions about gardening or composting. Judy Elliot was our instructor. She's been composting for 30 years. Believe me, if you have a question, she can answer it.

    Nicole: Well, I'm sure that I will be sending her an email. I think we covered a ton of information but is there anything else that you want to add or that we missed before we close things up here?

    Adrienne: I would tell people, if you're a little hesitant to get on the full compost pile train, start with the worms, start small. It's okay. We try to take some of that intimidation out, but I understand the concerns. I haven't had issues with rodents in the compost, but I have strawberry beds that rats are loving. So, I get that there can be some fear and do it when you're ready, and do it when you have a system that you feel really comfortable that works for you and your space.

    Nicole: I think that's a great tip. Awesome. Well, Adrienne, I appreciate you taking the time out of your day and spending your lunch break with us and educating us. I know that I certainly feel more prepared for tackling compost this coming spring.

    Adrienne: I have to say it's really nice to have these kind of conversations with people and to kind of share those aha moments. I'm happy to spread the word and hopefully help people tweak what they're doing and have it be more successful and thus be more empowered to do more.

    Nicole: Definitely. Well, again, thank you for joining us and sharing your knowledge. And this has been a great resource and I definitely enjoyed talking to you today.

    Adrienne: Thank you so much for having me. It was great.

    Nicole: And for those of you at home thank you so much for listening to backyard bounty and we'll see you again next week.

    Announcer: Thank you for listening to backyard bounty, a podcast by Don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review. If you have a question you'd like us to answer on the show, please email us at Also, find us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube at Heritage acres market. All the links mentioned in this podcast will be included in the description. See you again next week.

    Edited by PodSugar Audio Production & Editing

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