Monday, 11 June 2007

Compost Making Update: 11 Jun 07

Today is a public holiday here so it was the ideal time to turn the compost heap. You don't need to turn compost heaps but the breakdown process is much faster if you do. With this cold weather Doc needed something to do to warm him up!!

Although still warm to touch it was not hot enough for active breakdown. Turning the heap mixes the materials and re-activates the heating process. The outside straw layer also seemed quite dry; however after removing the covers I noticed that there was evidence of breakdown so this was encouraging to see.

When turning a compost heap the idea is to move the outside cooler and dryer materials into the centre of the new heap. This will encourage a more even breakdown and speed up the process.

As the heap seemed too dry I have watered each 'layer' with a watering can full of rainwater mixed with molasses. Molasses helps to feed the microbes that are present in the composting material and are in fact breaking the materials down so I am really feeding the workers with this mix.

As the weather is getting very chilly now I also sprinkled a couple of the layers with a handful or two of blood and bone to activate the process further.

The final touch was a can full of what the Journey to Forever site (see here) calls “Household Compost Activator” (diluted somewhat more than JTF’s 50-50) courtesy of Doc.

Any material that has not begun to breakdown has been buried into the centre of the pile. A thin layer of mainly straw was left on the ground where the original pile was to protect the soil there.

As it was beginning to rain I left the covers off to allow it to fall on the heap, I will put the covers back on this afternoon. I should point out that the rain was not very heavy.

See the building of this Compost Heap here.


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