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Arts & Culture
Henry Homeyer is a life-long organic gardener who has lived in Cornish Flat, NH since 1970 (except for his time in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer and country director).He writes a weekly gardening column that appears in 12 newspapers around New England, and has written for the New York Times, The Boston Globe and other newspapers. Henry teaches organic gardening workshops throughout New England at garden shows, clubs, nurseries, public gardens and other venues, and is a regular contributor to NHPR and Vermont Public Radio.

Make-Your-Own 'Black Gold'

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Henry Homeyer
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Gardening Guy Henry Homeyer sings the praises of good compost- and offers tips for making your own.

What’s so special about compost?

Compost will help your soil hold water, and allow it to drain better when needed. It also introduces fungi and bacteria that are beneficial.

Of course you can just go and buy some, but you make your own.

I do. I can’t make all that I need… but I think it’s important we have a compost pile for our kitchen scraps to keep them out of the waste stream. And we all have weeds and grass clippings and leaves – they all go in the pile too.

What makes good compost?

Anything organic except for meat and oil. Mainly a mixture of green and brown materials; compost works best if you’ve got lots of carbon (the brown material) and just a little bit of green material.

What about those commercially available compost barrels?

They work, but I’m of the old school that says just throw it in the pile and let it rot.

How long does it take to make good compost?

I say two or three years.

How do you know when it’s ready to use?

When it smells like earth; it’s dark and fluffy and light, and has some earth worms in it.

Read Henry's blog to learn more and see how to build your own compost bin.

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