Compost carry on

One of my fortnightly jobs is composting, something that gives me a strange pleasure. When the compost heap is really working feeling the heat and steam rising up is a very graphic way of telling you things are just fine.

So here's a lighthearted pictorial look at my composting routine...

1. First prepare for the fortnightly game of tap the rat on the nut by removing the compost covering with a sturdy stick in your hand. This time he'd either heard me coming or nipped out while my back was turned. I find it's a good idea to first check your coat isn't overhanging the compost bin. There's no telling where the rodent might erupt from, and a desperate rat heading northwards inside your coat isn't a happy thought!

2. Here's what greets me on removing the covers. Looks like a cross section of London Underground. The local rodent enjoys the warmth of the heap and the odd kitchen tidbit.

3. First addition is cardboard, great for retaining moisture in the compost pile as well as rotting down. Any packaging will do so long as it's not covered with too much shiny surface. Corrugated cardboard is great. So is shredded paper.

4. Next is kitchen scraps. Chop up to speed up decomposition. Chickens are optional.

5. Garden and allotment waste comes next, again chopped up.

6. Now I add chicken and rabbit litter along with chicken poo I've collected since the last compost event. Really helps to heat up the pile and add goodness. If you don't have chickens, rabbits, hampsters or other non-meat eating pets it's worth begging acquaintances with such feathered or hairy dependents to let you have their waste.

7. Moisture speeds up the process so I save excess tea and add this next.

8. Finally old compost from plant pots and cow manure gets added. This seals the heat in and, when covered by the next composting session, really heats things up. Provides lots of microbes to get munching away.

9. First part of the covering goes back on, chicken wire to discourage the rodent.

10. Next covering goes back on, old carpet.

11. Even more covering, scaffold netting.

12. More mesh and various weights to hold the whole thing down.

Here's the final result. The height of one bin is increased by moving sections across from the other bin, where the contents are in their final rot down. Then the oldest compost gets put on the plot and the contents of the newest is turned over into the vacated bin. This method produces several cubic metres of compost every year.

Oh... and in spite of all that protection, I still fully expect to do battle with the rat in a couple of week's time!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post on composting - I'm in no doubt now that I've been doing it all wrong! Seriously though, good tip about tea (didn't know that before), otherwise pretty much doing as you do. I used to get my neighbour's rabbit straw but she then got a cat as well so I thought best to leave the litter bag alone!
    I've just found your blog - very entertaining!


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