Compost update


The first batch of 18 day compost turned into a huge mountain due to all the straw Damian needed to add to get the nitrogen-carbon ratio right (not stinky). Even so, it got used up pretty quick on the trees and fall garden. We gave some to the neighbors too.This second batch is a much more manageable size and is made %100 out of our own imputs; chicken manure, weeds, and amaranth. It doesn’t smell at all and seems to be cooking nicely.

cooking up some compost

damian is trying his hand at a big-batch 18-day compost project. this is in addition to our ongoing compost of kitchen scraps, chicken manure and humanure*. he started with goat manure, alfalfa, and straw bales. in most climates you would use free stuff like fall leaves and grass clippings instead of buying bales of alfalfa and straw, but organic matter of any kind is hard to come by around here, so we spent about $100 on materials (the manure was free). it’s gonna make a LOT of compost.

the raw materials:543413_10151815054673331_39302727_n

here’s the pile mixed (oliver helped, of course):1150995_10151815089683331_597703964_nthe pile is supposed to sit for 4 days and then get turned, but ours got super hot and stinky really fast. it also attracted a lot of flies. damian figured it was due to lack of air and too much nitrogen, so he layered in a bunch more straw and made the pile longer to allow for more air:1423_10151822041473331_853206133_nthat changed the smell from “dead goat” to “horse pasture.” thanks, honey! it’s still pretty hot (160F, we want more like 140, i think). damian assures me it won’t catch fire. i bought one of those bag-style fly traps that worked well when we had horses near by. stay tuned for more exciting compost adventures!

* i wasn’t going to tell you that we have a humanure system, but i feel like i’m being dishonest with all the blogging about water use and permaculture if i don’t mention the little fact that we quit pooping in drinking water. it’s been close to a year now and i’ve gone from very nervous and squeamish to a true believer. and no, it doesn’t smell. not even like a horse pasture. ok, maybe it smells a little like sawdust, but that’s different…