Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Get Some Air in There

I have found the composting Bible. The first and last word in composting. Mike McGrath's Book on Composting is it!

Why am I so excited? Because he has some great ways to speed up the compost pile and he explains it so I can understand. The greatest new thing I want to try out is putting a chimney in the compost pile. Yep, that's right - a CHIMNEY.

Here's what I plan to do based on Mr. McGrath's suggestions:

Take some of my friend's wire fence discards and roll them into 6-8" tubes. Set a tube into the ground where I will put a new pile. Then I will take the partially decomposed remains of my two big compost piles and carefully layer them around the tube. I will intersperse the layers with leaves that I've raked up into suitable piles for jumping in. (I have to keep the kids happy somehow and work ain't it). When the pile is approximately 4 foot high and 4 foot wide and 4 foot long, I'll build another pile with another tube. The tube is supposed to act like a chimney and circulate air through the pile speeding up decomposition.

I have to take care that the compost does not fall into the tube when piled up around it. I can't wait to see if the pile puts off steam. Then I know it's really cooking. If the piles start smoking I'll post some pictures here.

If the pile don't produce steam, I'll have to check the moisture and composition to make sure I got that right. The moisture should be like a well-wrung sponge and the composition should be 30 parts brown to 1 part green. This time of year I may need more green, but then again maybe not since I put kitchen garbage in there and I have plenty of that.

I want to have compost ready for the early spring plants which I will be seeding in February. According to the Mike McGrath book and many other oral sources, compost is the best thing for your plants. It's ready-made free natural fertilizer. Compost builds the soil health.

Healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy food = healthy eaters.

And less work for me. Yep - Livin' the Dream

2 comments:

Walter Jeffries said...

Interesting technique. I can see it would help. I don't turn compost piles - too much effort and they seem to do fine without it although I do have to be patient as it takes longer without the turning. The compost chimney would help speed up the process. Our piles are inside squares of old pallets which helps bring in some outside air to the open vertical sides. I have some perforated 4" ABS sewer pipe that would be perfect - inexpensive and it comes in 10' sections. Painted black it would even make a solar chimney to further the effect.

Mule Shoe Farm said...

Walter - you're right I hate turning the piles too. That's why I think the chimney will be perfect. If you get to it, let us know how it works for you.

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