A Tour of 9 Composts
Come for a tour of our 9 composting systems on our single quarter acre block.
Disclaimer; video is still not really our thing, and this isn’t meant to be a viral piece of entertainment.
It’s 12 mins of compost, so, please keep that in mind 😉
Anyway, it has been a slow evolution of various composting methods that suit our situation, and given so many people ask about composting techniques, I thought it a pretty good time to share what I do at our place. What you use will depend on your circumstance; it might be none of these.
In this video; there were 5 basic types shown. Here’s a bit more info on each type.
- Worm Farm
Inputs: Scraps from kitchen, shredded newspaper, some weeds and leaves for balance.
Outputs: Worm Juice, Castings and worms themselves >shop.
Notes: Chop things up before they go in; and minimise onion & citrus (but we don’t avoid them completely).
- Slow / Lazy / Layering
Inputs: Weeds, small garden waste, grass clippings, leaves (+ coffee grounds / scraps very rarely).
Outputs: Compost, seed-raising mix, potting mix >shop.
Notes: Keep moist; but allow rain through; very light forking/lifting of lower layers to break things up a bit.
- Chicken ‘Deep Litter’
Inputs: All garden waste; all weeds (including some oxalis and kykuyu). Grass Clippings; coffee grounds; cafe waste, straw.
Outputs: Compost, Straw / manure mix from inside hutch >shop.
Notes: Very high in nitrogen, so can be used sparingly.
- Hot Compost – (made all at once).
Inputs: Fresh grass clippings; straw; chicken manure; garden waste (chopped small); coffee grounds; shredded paper or sawdust.
Outputs: Compost in 4 weeks.
Note: Video shows the neglected end result of; not the actual making of a ‘hot compost’, which you can see a good example from Good Life Permaculture.
- Liquid Fertilizer maker
This is just one method of making liquid fertilizer. It’s easy to use; but you do need to remember to keep topping up the leaves, hence why this one hasn’t been used for a while; but it can be reactivated at any time.
Inputs: Comfrey leaves (or any leaves that are known “dynamic accumulators“); eg dandelion; yarrow; etc.
Outputs: Highly concentrated juice; dilute 10-1.
Please ask any questions about these composting methods; and I’ll try to add them below as FAQ’s, or in the comments.
- Q. With your ‘slow’ laying compost method; why don’t you use a double-bay system?
A: Instead of one central / large one (which would suit the double bay method perfectly); I have 3 in different areas of the yard; which greatly reduces the amount of material that needs transporting around the garden. The resulting compost can also be used in that area. An additional reason is that we have chickens; which actually process most of our compost. If not chickens; we’d definitely have a multiple bay system.
- Q. When do you harvest the composts?
A. The composts are generally ‘harvested’ either at the beginning of Autumn (sometime after the first rains), or around the first half of spring. In summer and winter they are left to mature (while being added to of course).