Composting Competition – Autumn 2014
We asked people to send us their stories about Composting, Organic Recycling, Organic Gardening, Worm Farming or any other related Sustainability topic.
Here is where it all starts
I have 3 Horses on 5 acres of land.
After 7 days I open the heap up and turn it over thoroughly adding oxygen and then moisten it again with a sprinkler and cover it with black plastic.
I was surprised to see how fast it had broken down after just one week.
I enjoy turning the heap over, it means I can drive the bobcat again.
The horses feed site is cleaned out of manure and wasted hay every 2 weeks.
3 horses generate the waste daily
The bobcat makes composting much easier.
Cleaning up the left over hay from around the feed yard
The leftover hay is added to the heap in layers with manure.
The First Stage of the Simple Process
Managing the Compost Heap
Turning the heap after 1 week
I completely move the pile so that the contents from the base of the pile end up on top and that the contents from the middle are mixed through equally .To do this I move the pile in batches . Doing this also adds oxygen to the pile.
After turning the pile I again water it and cover with black plastic to generate more heat.
After 2 weeks composting
The compost heap has turned into a useable product to add to the garden.
The Finished Product
Compost added to new garden bed “2 weeks” after starting.
Other Compost that I have going
Above : The old compost bin is still in use but sadly outgrown.
Above : Stainless steel tumbler for making compost from vegetable scraps tissues , paper towels , coffee grounds and tea leaves. I drain of the compost tea to make liquid fertiliser for plants and vegetables.
On the Go: My Other Projects
Continuous Liquid Fertiliser :
I keep to plastic drums with the mesh bags (which oranges are sold in). I fill the mesh bag with either horse manure, cow manure or chook poo and let it sit for a couple of weeks soaking in water.
I then take out the mesh bag and drain off the liquid and dilute the liquid 1:10 and use it to fertilise the vegetables and fruit trees. Its Amazing!
The problem : I under estimated the success of the fertiliser and I now want to make the barrel’s bigger (perhaps 44 gal drums)
The Worm Farm
The habitat for the worms arrived home today (thanks to hubby) and will finish like this picture to the right. It has perforated Ag pipe in the base connected to an outlet , it should produce approx 30 lts of worm juice concentrate each week (which will be diluted 1:10)
Now I just have to think of 2000 names for the worms!
In The Near Future!
In the near future I hope to include bees for pollination of our fruit trees and vegetables and also to harvest honey. (I don’t have approval for this project yet, I’m keeping it as a surprise for Hubby because I don’t fancy the idea of handling bees myself, so I will have to delegate this job to him. He’s not coping at all well with earwigs , flies and millipedes He’s going to have to man up for this one)
Chooks are therapeutic, and great at turning over the soil in between vegi patch rotations, and obviously egg and manure producers.
I first saw your competition advertised while looking for compostable bags for my compost bin, and I’d like to thankyou for the opportunity to share the simple system that I have recently used for composting our horse manure and waste horse feed. I hope that other people can get some ideas, to make compost from a waste product that they may have …..that is practical.
Our veggie garden is relatively new in the scale of things, but the ideas that we have and are putting into practice have been gained through trial and error , talking to people over the years , reading books and lately from the internet.
After using this 2 week system of composting and achieved great results,
(amazingly I’ve used horse manure in the past as mulch around trees etc and it takes several months to breakdown into the soil, the higher I pile it the longer it takes to decompose) I’m now going to do a cow manure and pea straw compost heap and a cow manure / chicken manure / mushroom compost and pea straw heap. I’m lucky enough to have cattle and chook farmers near by, and hope to produce varied composts.
Hubby and I are lucky enough to have a 5 acre block close to the Barossa Valley in South Australia, the soil is a sandy loam which drains well and is easy to dig, but it doesn’t t have a lot of natural nutrient or minerals, so anything we plant has to be fertilised regularly. And I anticipate that we will have to add to the soil seasonally. We have planted 20 fruit trees , 6 grape vines and now working on the 250 m2 vegi patch in this first stage.
Our aim is to be self sustainable within 2 years, much as possible. For us the real pleasure will be to be able to give away fruit and vegetables to family, friends and neighbours in the near future. As soon as we can we would like to be able to give food to charities and community groups such as the Elderly, Meals on Wheels the Salvos and Homeless Shelters.
lets get excited
Id like to thank Bob (the bobcat) for all of the hard work he put in to create the compost, and hope Hubby doesn’t notice the extra scratch I put on him when I got a bit close to his car on Tuesday!