Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Finally time for Manure Therapy

Something in the compost is even more interesting
than fresh grass... I don't wanna know.

So much changes with the beginning of spring.
Soon the animals will move from winter housing to a more spread out (less messy) set up.  Soon the gardens will be planting and I'll be building more beds to make up for all the over estimating we have done with our seeds and starts this year.

But before that though, as soon as the piles can be pitchforked and there's a spot of grass clear it is time... to start the compost! (continued)

Round here we practice an 18 day method, which usually means it's done pretty close to that, even if I make a mistake in my mix or miss a turn. The speed is especially important because having thriving compost to spread under and around seeds and seedlings is a really strong boost for them and a key part of the opening of our gardening season.

This first pile will probably only be one of several, all about a cubic yard in volume.  That's really the limit if you want good, fast, hot, compost.  Bigger will work, but smaller piles just don't have the mass and power to get the job done. Which can sometimes pose a problem.  What do you do when you don't have enough?  We save it, adding slowing and layering material so it will continue to compost (if slowly) as it sits. These leftovers are always the first to get the hot pile treatment in the spring and the first of what will be used this year for planting and new beds.

So in the spring I will open up the wire cage holding the leftovers and give them their first good turn of the year. After moving them today I can continue to add to the pile until the size and mixture feel right and then start that 18 day timer with a turn on day 4.  It's aromatic work, even before moving animals and dealing with manure or bedding and that is where most of our material will come from.  By the time I have 4 or 5 of these piles "working" all the winter leavings will be cleaned up and included and we'll be saving up a leftovers pile or two once again.

I'd be lying if I told you I was thrilled to be shoveling or forking stinky sloppy messy crud like this, but I would also be lying if I made it sound like being outside working on a sunny day, pushing 60°F, feeling the first of the season's proto-blisters on my palms and working up a sweat was so horrible.

It's a good thing too, because now that it has begun I'll be at it for some weeks yet to come.

Thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing the chickies scratching around in the compost, helping you out!