Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How I Do What I Do

Because of my attempts to compost virtually all organic vegetable matter at the Field House, I treat my raw materials in different manners, depending on whether they are easy or difficult to break down, and where and for what purpose the end use material may be used.

I have four composting bins in total, two black plastic earth machines, which are used for producing higher quality compost fairly quickly. I also have two hand built wooden composting bins, made of pressure treat 2x4 with fence slats for walls, each about 1 cubic yard (3 x 3 x 3 feet). In addition two these four composting units, I also do limited burning in a fire pit to reduce cones and branches to ash, before adding to various composters, and I also pile and shred leaves over garden areas to produce leaf mulch in-situ.

The earth machines are fed a higher quality diet of clean leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen food waste. In the summer they can easily produce beautiful crumbly black compost within six to eight weeks.

The larger wooden bins are used more to break down some things considered uncompostable, like spruce cones and needles, in addition to larger volumes of fairly good raw materials, ending with a decent compost suitable for using as a base for locating new beds. Due to the nature and quality of the raw materials, these bins generally take at least three of four months to turn out anything decent in the summer, and require a bit more effort in terms of hand turning and chopping to break everything down nicely.

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