Saturday, June 18, 2011

Compost Challenge: Complete!

A few days ago, the 2-week compost challenge came to and end.  We set out to see if in 2 weeks our pile of decomposing garden trimmings and kitchen waste would become usable compost that could be used in our garden to plant more vegetables. Well, it was a success. Check it out....

Day 14, complete.

There are a few larger items that we found that did not decompose all the way, mostly because of the size they were when we started. Top left, Swiss Chard Stalk. Top right, what is left of a small cardboard box. Bottom left, what is left of an 18-pack carton of eggs. Bottom right, tops of pineapples.

The larger items would have had more success if we had chopped them into smaller pieces. I am still really surprised how much the 18pack of eggs decomposed. Some of the larger items that we put in the pile like whole oranges and potatoes were nowhere to be found. We just threw the above items in the next compost pile we are working on.
You may have noticed that there were a few larger sticks and such in the pile. What you might find more beneficial (especially if you are planning seed) is to sift the dirt to remove these larger items. Below is a picture of a type of sifter.

As I said in a previous post, what we believe the key to success in having this ready in 2 weeks was the daily turning. All of the stuff in the pile was naturally decomposing and would have continued to do so, we just sped up the natural process by making sure the pile was getting enough air and had the right amount of moisture. Our goal was to turn the pile every day but with the weather and our sometimes busy schedule we only turned it 10 out of the 14 days. We are very happy with these results as it will save us a ton of money on purchasing dirt. We are adding great quality and organic matter into our soil for FREE, all it cost was about 20 mins a day. We hope that this encourages you to start your own pile. It is really easy, cheap and the benefits your plants with will receive from the nutrient rich compost are great!

If you are look for a cheap and easy way to have a compost pile check out the pictures below from our friends, Jon and Susan Menton. The captions in the pictures are descriptions from Jon and Susan. Thanks guys for sharing your pics!!
Composter is 3 feet high and 3 feet in diameter. We took some 3 feet tall fencing and wrapped into a circle. You attach it together in just a couple of places and it has no bottom. You fill it with compost material and when you are ready to turn it,  just open it up and move it close by, reattach it in a circle shape, and throw the material into it from your pile. This will effectively flip the pile each time you do it.
The pile you see is reduced from a completely filled composter.

The mesh we used is 2 inches by 3 inches. It works fine, but we would not recommend getting any larger of a mesh.

No comments:

Post a Comment