It seemed like it rained or stormed every day in July except the Fourth. By mid-month, I found this old Sesame Street song running through my head: “It’s a rainy day, it’s a rainy day. It’s raining outside and I can’t go out and play. Why do we need the rain anyway?”
As the song wisely points out, every living thing needs water and that includes our compost piles. While you may associate your compost with decomposition, it’s actually a vibrant, biological community of greens, browns, bugs, oxygen, sunshine - and yes – rain. All those elements work together to create that rich compost that can be used to fertilize your garden or mulch your landscaping.
Like most everything in nature, your compost pile needs balance.
Too much of one element is not a good thing. My compost pile had compressed nicely this summer due to all the moisture. However, it became too saturated which can lead to an anaerobic pile.
To help your compost pile maintain its job, now is a good time to add dry, carbon rich material. Some composters keep bags of fall leaves handy for just this reason. I save the dried out leaves from my ornamental grass that I trim back each fall. Shredded paper works just as well. Be sure to mix it into your pile thoroughly; the process of turning the pile while “stirring” in the shredded paper will create air pockets within the pile.
While rain is a vital ingredient to your compost cocktail, don’t let it water down your pile. Counteract the moisture with dry carbon. Happy composting!