Calling all composting experts!
Time for another confession. I have never started a compost heap before. When I first started researching organic gardening the most important thing stressed by everyone was to start a compost heap. Some even suggested percentages of each type of matter I should be contributing to it but I have found it is sometimes difficult to measure as the pile gets larger. I do not have a compost bin nor a tumbler so I started my compost on a pile of leaves next to my shadehouse and under the gumtrees. The leaves themselves I figured were already an ecosystem as they were probably a foot deep before I started adding layers. This position gets both direct sun and full shade, depending on the time of day.
To cordon off my heap I used one side of the shade house and two old single bed bases to form a three sided, well aired compost bay. I added everything included on the list I compiled from all the sites I read:
Fruit and vegetable scraps - no onion or citrus
Twigs - not too big, just enough to aerate
Charcoal dust - from the bonfire brought up in a wheelbarrow
Hair - my daughter is a hairdresser and cuts her brothers hair
I left it for two weeks, watered it a couple of times but did not cover it which Paul thought I should. Should I put a tarp or something over it? I did surprise a small brown snake the first time I added scraps but have not seen one since. We would need to be careful if it does require covering though. We also get huge goannas here which I expected would be attracted by the food scraps...so far I have not seen one. Touch wood, they scare me more than the snakes.
I got a fork to it on the weekend and turned the heap over several times. I could see a bit of breakdown in the very bottom of the pile but the top layers were fairly dry.
I added some shredded paper, some more soil and scraps and will check back again after the rain this weekend. How often should I turn the heap over? Do you think I have the right mix of ingredients?
|The finished result|
I was wondering if anyone has used a bokashi bucket? The idea of being able to recycle the meat scraps as well is appealing to me, so that may be on my Christmas list...but I understand there is an ongoing cost with the bran.
I will make a great organic gardener one day...the main thing is I have made a start on my apprenticeship and composting takes a few months I believe. I have plenty of those to spare.