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Wednesday, 25 July 2007

The compost bin comeback

Found another surprise in the compost bin today... a pleasant one this time.

As happy as I am about my first thousand worms, they aren't eating a lot of kitchen scraps yet. I'm guessing that's partly because they're so (relatively) few in number and partly because they still have lots of other food to consume in their initial bedding material. Most of what I provided for them on Saturday is still there and our little bucket in the kitchen was full. Well the scraps had to go somewhere and it sure wasn't going to be landfill, so out to the compost bin I went.

Sometime in the past couple of weeks I had decided the compost pile was too dry. I started experimenting with a new formula: one bucket of kitchen scraps spread out, a layer of dried grass clippings and finally one kitchen bucket's worth of water on top. After making this contribution again this afternoon it seemed like I should aerate the pile a bit and make sure it's not going nasty in the middle.

Well! Far from being nasty, what I found in the middle of the pile looked suspiciously like the stuff I'd seen on the glossy front cover photograph of my neighbour's composting book. It was dark, moist, spongy, inhabited by tiny bugs and earthworms, and it gave off a noticeable amount of heat. No visible rodents, either.

Perhaps I should have left it alone, but I used my garden fork to try and mix things up. There's plenty of material still to be decomposed and I'm hoping that introducing some air and those additional nutrients into the core will help it rather than hinder. This coming weekend I'll turn the whole pile again and see what I find.

If that kind of result is repeatable, and the mice stay away, I may keep the bin going in addition to the worm farm.

1 comment:

Crazy Mumma said...

Yay, compost! LOL. Mixing it up is the way to go - the stuff in the middle decomposing and generating heat will run out of "fuel" otherwise and the heap will go cold, so mixing it up and aerating it in the process will keep the process going nicely :-) Well done! Now if it would just warm up a bit more at my place I could get mine going again...