Compost update: still plenty of capacity

It was great to meet contributor Alison yesterday who also composts at home but refers to that as ‘feeding the possums’ 🙂 I feel the same way about my attempts to grow vegetables in the backyard sometimes. The compost bin that the HCC collections feed into has been built with security in mind. It’s going to be even more secure once a proper lid is constructed. We have intentions to build one from some old roofing from a garden shed… once we get around to it. In the meantime, the compost is covered nightly with wire mesh, coffee sacks and paving tiles to weigh it all down and prevent possums and others getting in. With more and more tasty morsels going in lately the possums have been extra determined though and even chewed a hole right through the hessian coffee sack!
And seeing as the compost heap was nice and full they were even able to pull a little bit of banana peel through the chicken wire. They’ll soon learn that it isn’t worth the effort though. I foiled their plan by turning over the heap yesterday. And it was hot in the middle! Like a stinky sauna! Helped by the fact that I also snuck a bag of cow manure into the middle of the heap to add extra nitrogen. Now the pile with all the tasty kitchen scraps that the possums were attracted to has been mixed up and turned over, with the heat and microbes within redistributed. I finished it off with an ‘icing’ of dry leaves to trap in any odours that had been stirred up and as extra possum deterrent in case they still want to investigate it from the top.

degradation progressing well
ready for the next pile!

My husband, Scott, is as pleased with the progress as I am but also expressed some concern that I may be nearing capacity. I’m not worried though, and reminded him that the wonderful thing about extra feedstock for the heap means that it is much more efficient. Quicker turnover will mean that we avoid reaching capacity and at the same time will be making more finished compost. It’s such a pleasure to have an efficient system. I know I’ve put quite a few cauliflower stems in the first bay of the compost over the past few weeks. These were woody at the base and even a little tough to chop up but now they have ‘disappeared’, being already partially degraded and unrecognisable. Other items may take a little longer but it’s all contributing to make a valuable end product.

This pile is definitely ready for plenty more buckets of waste so keep ’em coming and tell your neighbours!

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