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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Getting It Right (Finally!)

Today I decided it was high time to turn the compost pile.  Guess what I found when I pulled off the plastic cover from the pile?

Compost!!

See?

I didn't add any soil.  That's straight compost!  I finally figured out what the secret is, the same secret that all the books and articles mention: carbon, carbon, and more carbon.  Probably the best help with this particular pile came from the blog Root Simple.  Erik Knutzen had spent some time with Jon Jeavons at the non-profit Ecology Action center on his farm in Willits, California, and posted a very useful video on the blog. (Actually, if you watch it, you might at well watch all the rest of them on several practices they preach at the center. I did, and I learned a lot!)  I didn't put the stakes at the corners, like they do, but I did find the information about keeping the pile in a square shape to be very helpful, as well as moving the decomposing stuff in the middle of the pile to the outside of the new pile, and the still-looks-like-broccoli-and-straw-stuff to the inside of the new pile.  I also think that I'm getting it done more easily with a free form pile and my manure fork- lots less heavy lifting for this old gal with a bad back, which makes a huge difference in how long I last in the yard.  The Geobin is holding some older compost, and I'll let that sit for awhile longer.  Eventually, I'll have to move it all to a new location, because I plan on growing heavy feeding cabbages where the piles are all sitting now.  I figured that if the were going to leach nutrients into the soil, they may as well leach it where I was going to need it.

As the weather warms up, I should be able to really crank out the compost, now that I finally know what I'm doing.  It only took me two years to learn how!

1 comment:

Rae said...

Congrats! Now you can teach me! Lol.