My first intentional compost pile
Based on the size of square foot garden my wife and I want to plant in the spring I've calculated we need 28 cubic feet of compost.
The gardens will be three 4x12 boxes 6" tall and a single 2x8 6" tall. Compost is 1/3, vermiculite is 1/3 and peat moss is 1/3. Math tells me 28ft^3 is my target.
I previously sifted and stored the non-intentional composted materials and started new. Non-intentional? It was just where we threw junk. Not really a good mix of stuff for a garden, just a where the leaves, grass and a small amount of kitchen scraps went for over 5 years. The sifted stuff is nice but the nutritional content is probably not too interesting.
Reading Organic Gardener's Composting I want to get a good mix of stuff.
For the last couple weeks I've been collecting free stuff to compost:
-Chicken droppings with straw and seed husks
Today was the day to assemble the assorted items into a proper pile.
I started with 15 feet of chicken wire 3 feet high. This will allow about 53 cubic feet. About twice the final minimum volume. On the bottom I put a few funny shaped sticks to give a bit of air underneath.
I mixed in several layers adding water every layer. I was worried I wouldn't have enough, but I actually ran out of space and I had to leave half of the leaf pile and added some horse poo, chicken poo and grass into that pile.
Below are the pictures:
Collected ingredients. From left to right:
-two bins and small black bag -- chicken
-three large black bags -- grass
-paper bags and clumps in leaves -- goat
-horse, lots of horse!
Some stuff prepped to be layered. That horse poo has some color! Goat is in the front with grass to the right. Chicken is off camera.
Finished compost with leftovers on left.
Closeup of completed pile.
This is the current garden. We have tilled like crazy for a couple years and removed buckets of rocks. Doesn't help. The neighbor tells me this is where the gravel driveway used to be. So, next year I will put down plywood first then start with good stuff only in boxes!
I wrapped the whole thing in a holey tarp to keep warm, hopefully the holes will allow enough air flow. I will turn the pile after a while. Maybe a week or two. Gotta get a proper pitch fork.
Any guesses on how much that pile will reduce after composting?