An award-winning journalist for The Wasington Post in a previous life, Ed Bruske is a Master Gardener and president of D.C. Urban Gardeners, a group dedicated to the greening of the District of Columbia through public education and hands-on volunteer efforts. An accomplished public speaker, Ed focuses his lecture activities on composting and soil ecology. He practices daily organic recycling through composting and vermicomposting at his home about a mile from the White House, where he and his wife are transforming their corner lot into an edible landscape. Ed is a personal chef, caterer and chef-in-residence at The Washington Youth Garden, located at the U.S. National Arboretum in the District of Columbia. He also writes about composting and cooking from the garden on his blog, The Slow Cook, www.theslowcook.blogspot.com.
Master gardener Ed Bruske discusses compost activators.
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Hi, my name is Ed Bruske with D.C. Urban Gardeners. We are here in my garden in the District of Columbia talking about composting and you may be wondering what I was just sprinkling on my compost pile here. Well, this is an old composter's trick. This is some dog food that I ground up in the food processor. Why would I put dog food on my compost pile? Well, dog food is full of protein and protein is full of nitrogen and nitrogen is what bacteria love to eat. So, by putting nitrogen, more nitrogen into your pile you get those bacteria working a lot faster. They heat the pile up. If you are interested in hot composting that would raise the temperature of your pile, make the compost happen a lot faster, kill off weed seeds and any pathogens that might be in your compost. Now, if you don't have dog food or you think that dog food is little silly, there are all kinds of other nitrogen that you can put in your compost pile to get that heating up hot effect activating those bacteria. One of them we mentioned earlier is grass clippings, but grass clippings are actually low in nitrogen compared to some other things like say chicken manure. Now, if you do not have Chicken manure or you actually get different kinds of meal from your garden center that have a high nitrogen content such as bonemeal which comes from the slaughter house process, blood meal same thing that is recycled materials from the slaughter house, alfalfa meal which would be more of a vegetarian or vegetable nitrogen source and all kinds of other plant meals that act as a booster to your compost pile but again, that is only if you really want you get into hot composting and heat up that pile and make your compost happen lot faster. In the next scene we are going talk about is how you can use the scraps that you generate in your kitchen by cooking and recycle those in your compost pile and turn them into an amendment for your garden soil rather than sending into the landfill.