First Batch of Compost...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: First Batch of Compost...
Author: TCLynx (Tclynx)
Saturday, June 23, 2007 - 4:05 pm
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I've left some compost piles age and when we came back to check on them, all that was left was the oak leaves and palm frond covers. Oak leave decompose slowly and the soil tends to eat up the easily available organic material here in hot central FL. I could probably re-use the oak leaves as cover material here since if I let a compost pile age too long here, there won't be anything left but the oak leaves.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 6:07 pm
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Wayne,

Don't expect to see a lot of earthworms in your finished compost. They flourish in the decomposing organic material, then clear out once the compost is finished.

Your unfinished cover material should be completely degraded if you compost for a year then leave it to age for a year.

It sounds like you compost may not have been finished, or you may have had a lot of fungus working on the woody material, *or* you may just have had roots from plants growing on the compost pile itself.

Author: Wayne Ferguson (Hazratio)
Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 5:12 pm
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I'm happy to report that my first batch of composted humanure has been fully harvested. I got about 10 wheel-barrow loads--most of which I used in my vegitable garden. Here's how it went:

1) About 3 wheel-barrow loads for plants (tomatoes, peppers, squash, & cucumbers--a shovel full under each plant or hill)

2) About 4 wheel barrows for 3 short rows of corn & three short rows of beans (dug a deep trench with the tiller attachment and spread the compose along the bottom; then tilled it into the loose dirt and put the seed on top of it; then covered the seed with the remainder of the loose dirt.

3) I used another couple of wheel-barrows full as "side-dressing" for the growing plants (hoeing it and/or tilling it into the ground as I continued to work-out the garden).

4) The remaining wheel-barrow full went to friends and family members who wanted it for their flowers.

In short, I could have used a lot more! Next year, I should have twice as much, with one bin "coming fresh" in January and another sometime in early to mid-summer.

A couple of things I noticed:

1) There were very few earth-worms in my compost. I was a bit disappointed at this. Perhap it is due to the high percentage of leaves and sawdust used in that first batch. The next batch may have had a bigger percentage of hay, grassclippings, and kitchen compost, so perhaps there will be more earthworm activity in it.

2) A good deal of the volume of this bin was uncomposted cover material from the sides of the bin (I think I may have been buiding it up too thick around the edges). Anyway, on the current (3rd) bin, I am building the "walls" a bit thinner and spreading the humanure and vegitable waste out a bit wider before covering it up.

3) I noticed quite a system of small roots throughout the bin--partly from the trees in whose shade the bins are built. I was wondering if some of it was some sort of fungus growing in the sawdust itself (or possibly from the leaves). Anyway, as far as I know they aren't a problem--just something that I am curious about.

Let me know if you have any questions or advice--I would be happy to discuss it further.

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