November 2017

No excuse for a proper composting system now!

MY COMPOST HEAP SYSTEM ROCKS!

There comes a time when you have to get down and dirty and back to basics.  I mean getting to grips with the soil and its need for nutrients. This reality hit home after a second year of poor sweetcorn yields and I just knew that the only soil-u-tion was digging in compost or muck. This has caused many a dilemma. For years, because of the bad access at the plot , I’ve used chicken manure pellets tossed about the place randomly. So its time to get serious and crazily enough I have a compost heap already that was full but I couldn’t get in it to dig it out.

Oh cobblers!

A single compost heap will not do either as digging out the lovely stuff underneath meant climbing in and removing the top rotting layer. So I hadn’t basically.
I spied a few pallets at the back of where I worked and so armed with a tape measure was able to pick out three matching palettes. I don’t need massive pallets either as I well never fill them in one season.
I only needed three so that I’d have brilliant access.

Positioning
I placed the new pallets at right angles to the old compost area so that any inter-shoveling between compost areas would be easy. I simply tied them together with a corner stake that I hammered into place.
My original enclosure was modified by sawing the top three rungs so that I could get a shovel in easily. I sorted through what was there and am pleased that loads of lovely crumbly black gold is now ready to use.

Compost rotation

Now that I am sorted with the hardware the system is obvious. New vegetation, kitchen scraps and non-weed matter goes in the new compost enclosure while I dig out the old and use its bounty.

Don’t compost

  • Dog and Cat Poo. But horse, cow, chicken and rabbit droppings are great.
  • Tea and Coffee Bags. Rip open the bags and empty out the grains and discard the bags.
  • Citrus Peels and banana skins.
  • Onions and potatoes if left whole. This is because they might continue to grow so squash them up.
  • Fish and meat scraps.
  • Glossy or coated paper.
  • Sticky Labels on Fruits and Vegetables.
  • Coal fire ash.
  • Sawdust from treated wood.
  • Perennial weed seed heads or roots. I don’t want to risk that pesky bindweed any opportunity to multiply.

A compost recipe

  1. Combine green and brown materials (no poo). Brown being garden soil that will contain microbes and good bacteria and even lovely worms
  2. Sprinkle water over the pile regularly so it has the consistency of a damp sponge.
  3. Stir it up as that will get everything in contact with all the good bacteria
  4. When is looks like its rotted down use it! Don’t worry if there are bits of twig etc as you can always sieve that out.
New compost enclosure placed carefully next to a self-seeded, 6ft high cosmos.

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