|Notice the layers. The dirt at the bottom is nearly top grade compost, while the raw material on top is all of ourrecent additions.|
|About 1/2 emptied out.|
After a little over a year of composting we have a nice little pile of grade-A dirt to show for it. Most of the compost gurus state that you need to turn and aerate your compost every 4-6 weeks and carefully monitor it to have a precise ratio of green and brown inputs. This precision would be great if I had ambition and patience to do such things. However, I do not have that kind of patience. What I have done is collect the best composting components I can find. I have been collecting coffee grounds from the cafeteria and 3 different coffee stations at my office for over a year. I have also been collecting egg shells,banana peels and apple cores from coworkers who probably think I am off my rocker. Last fall we collected enough fallen leaves to fill up our rather large bin twice. This combined with our kitchen scraps and some biochar (more on this later) have led to quite a haul of quality compost. Despite lack of aeration, our compost pile seems to do its thing quite quickly. If we fill up our bin to overfull status until it heaped over the top with dried leaves, weeds and coffee grounds; within a week it will down nearly a foot. This indicates that the raw inputs are composting quite quickly. Though admittedly, some of it may simply be packing down as well. On 29 SEP I emptied out the finished component (and mostly finished component) from the bin. To my amazement we had an extremely large population of earthworms helping out the process. If you read our previous post "We have worms" you know that we also maintain a small worm bin for vermicomposting. This past spring I seeded the compost bin with a handful of red wigglers. From the looks of it, the initial population has increased by 10 fold or more since their introduction into the compost bin. Earthworms are amazing at converting raw vegetable matter into dirt and are probably a large part of the reason we don't have to work too hard at getting our compost perfect....the worms are doing it for us. So there you have it a complete post about dirt. I hope you enjoy.