making compost

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making compost

Post  Fran on Sun May 11, 2008 3:21 pm

I can remember my first compost heap – some twigs at the bottom, lots of grass left behind by the mower, some horse, cow, chook manure, bit of shredded paper , hay raked up from the shed floor and a lot of vegetable scraps that had been frozen and thawed. I figured it was like a recipe. So it all went in – dry then wet, dry then wet, layer by layer and made sure it was all fluffed up and wouldn’t all just cake together in one big gluggy mass.

I then threw an old tarp over the lot. The heap had some spread and not much height but in the first weeks of that tropic summer it got cooked well and truly. I dutifully turned it over with a garden fork once or twice while it was decomposing and left it till it looked like soil. Took about 6 weeks I think – not long. I watered it once when I turned it – just enough to moisten the dry bits. I have never made better compost since. It was a deep dark brown, no bits and pieces of onion peel or anything, smelt sweet - looked like I imagined loam would look. Perhaps I threw some dolomite over it – forget.

I had read up about it and then just had a go – used what I thought might work – didn’t worry because I knew it would eventually decompose anyway no matter what I did - wasn't bothered just curious to see if it would work.

I was absolutely amazed to see the result – it was like I had cooked the best meal ever just by adapting a recipe to suit myself. Producing that compost was as satisfying to me as anything else I had produced in the garden and I haven’t looked back. It’s an ongoing process in any garden of mine and more precious than anything I could buy - find every compost heap is different because the ingredients are never exactly the same and weather conditions make a difference.

To make compost you need air, heat and moisture. Turning will supply the air, freezing the scraps and wetting the carbon stuff will keep things moist awhile, and building the heap in the sun and covering with something like a tarp will trap heat.

You don’t need expensive compost bins but each to his own. Whatever - try it. Adapt the recipes to suit yourself - use whatever method you think you can handle. It's magic - you can never have enough Smile
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Re: making compost

Post  siri on Mon May 12, 2008 5:22 am

Fran, that sounds good enough to eat! My first compost ever was in a compost bin. I just chucked everything into it, and left it to sit. The goat managed to get her chain wrapped around it, tip it over and eat anything worth eating. The chooks scratched through ti and spread it all over the place. I didn't bother with compost again for a long time.
I have made lovely leaf mould in the past, just by making a wire frame, and stacking in the leaves and waiting patiently. I'm good at waiting - LOL
These days my compost mountain grows from all the weeding I do. I let it grow for at least a year, sometimes longer. The last compost mountain was 4 years old and quite huge. I had a dingo digger man come in and turn it into a garden for me, and the dry stuff on top became the basis for the next heap, which is growing ever larger.
I have just started a now heap by laying out 8 pea straw bales, and will just throw all my weeds into that, and build up the sides as it grows.
Compost is just not my thing I guess, but I certainly appreciate the finished product. Wonderful stuff!
Cheers, Jan
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