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composting process

composting process is a story

it was told by emsenn for anyone

it is meant to be gossip

it is about compost

it was released on Mar 12, 2020



this assumes you're starting with two big handfuls of worms1 that you've put in cb#1

starting the first bin

you ideally want about a 50/50 split between brown composting stuff, and fruits veggies and green composting stuff, in your composting bins. often there's more green than brown available, but leaving green out in the weather turns it brown!

the furroughing pattern

so to start you'll put your collected material into cb#1. any excess green, start to pile in a column at one end of the composting area.

once cb#1 is full, add all composting material to the composting area, building up the first column.

when it gets too tall and starts to slump, pull the top down to the empty side of the composting area, and then cover it with the compost from the bottom of the first column.

(so you have basically flipped over the first column, into the place of the “second” column.)

then, refill the first column. when it gets full again - a bit higher than the second column, move the second column over like you did with the first. so now you'll have a full third column, an empty second column, and a full first column.

begin to fill the second column, and when it's full, move the third column to the fourth column, and begin to fill the third column.

when it's full, move the fourth column to the fifth column, and begin to fill the fourth column.

the pattern here inverts each column twice early in its decomposition, and then leaves it alone for a long while. this helps the microbiome of the soil build up.

(you might get weeds growing on the earlier columns. You can either let them grow for the additional composting material, or pull them up early.)

processing the first bin

at some point, your first composting bin is “finished” - what's in there looks like mulch and soil, with some bigger chunks mixed in.

I use wire-mesh trashcans, with a mesh diameter of about 1.3cm, to as “riddles” to seive out the mostly-finished compost from whatever bigger chunks and rocks are still a part of the mix. sometimes there'll be like, an onion or something growing.

the mostly-finished compost goes onto a tarp, we'll get back to it.

the larger chunks get tossed back into cb#1.

with a finer-meshed trashcan (about 2mm), I shake up the mostly finished compost, onto a different tarp. what drops down is fine black grit: worm castings. wonderful fertilizer, and full of good good soil bacteria.

then the mostly-finished compost, with the finer particles removed, gets put back on its tarp and under a bright light (like the sun) which drives the worms in it down. scrapping off the top a bit at a time, I bag that mix of worm eggs and soil to use as planting medium.

at the bottom of the tarp will be a big mass of worms: this gets added into the second compost bin.

then both compost bins are filled with a mix of the oldest compost (brown) and an equal amount green. even if that compost looks mostly finished, i still process it through the worm farms for the extra bit of processing.

eventually both bins will be mostly finished and you can repeat the process - ending up with two new batches of worms to start new bins, or you can simply add them back to the old bins.

please be careful depending on your region about letting worms from your farm, if they aren't native, into the surrounding area, as they can displace native worms. other places, there are not native worms, and you should do your best to prevent introduction.

worm tea

mix. let sit for 24h, stir vigorously and often, or use an aeration device. use to water. can be applied to compost pile to boost its decompostion rate.

  1. what sort? red wigglers are the preferred in the commercial world - and they're good for bait too. to source whatever sort of worm is local, go to a forest that is mostly decidious broadleaf trees, where the leaf bed is not disturbed, and fold it back. you should find, inside a square half meter area, about a half dozen visible worms - or more. if you don't, look somewhere else. take half the worms that are on the surface - might gotta be quick cause they're spry. collect a fair bit, maybe 80 or more, but fewer will work it'll just take time for the populations to increase.2 ↩︎

  2. earthworms lay eggs of 3-7ish eggs that about 5-9 days to hatch. you do the math, or don't: just wait and see. ↩︎