Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Compost system

Okay, not the most picturesque or fascinating of topics, but closing the circle in organic gardening is a worthy endeavor, especially when it means making your composting efforts hit paydirt.

It's normally a tedious and back-breaking chore, emptying the bin of fully composted kitchen and garden waste, screening it and getting it back to enriching the soil your strawberries are ripening in. For me, it still is tedious, but less so, and easy on the back now that I have a system that economizes motion and expedites the process. Pictured below are our two compost bins (one in receive mode and the other in cooking mode), with a can between sporting my new compost screen. It is made from a remnant cut-off section of 2' diameter ADS pipe which fits neatly over the top of the can, a piece of 1/4" mesh hardware "cloth" screwed to the sides of the pipe round, and a section of cast off hose which serves as a gasket to make the fit between can and screen perfect.

The ready-to-be-used compost is odorless except for a rich soil-like aroma. It is indistinguishable from soil, but has numerous sticks, small rocks, avocado seeds and peels, produce stickers that never got peeled off, ubiquitous abalone and snail and egg shell fragments and such that need to be screened out before putting the compost to good use.

I simply put 4 or 5 scoops of compost from the bin onto the screen and with a trowel and my gloved hand, push the compost through the screen into the can until all that remains is the detritus that I don't want in the garden.

That material is scooped off with trowel into another smaller can beside me to be disposed of elsewhere.

Inside my screened compost can is perfect ready-to-use soil enriching compost:

which I promptly add to all the garden, completing the cycle from garden to garden.

1 comment:

Jeannette said...

I just ate some freshly picked strawberries...thank you!