Tuesday, 7 April 2009

increasing compost production

Organic gardening books constantly bang on about adding well-rotted organic matter to the soil. This is not easy, because the quantity needed is large and producing that bulk of organic material is difficult.

This year I have managed to cover the potato bed with a mulch of well-rotted compost for the first time.

My solution to increasing the bulk of compost produced is as follows...

I have two (soon three) metre cube New Zealand boxes for layering up compost. The greater the volume, the higher the temperature the compost will achieve and the more effective the compost production will be. With three bins, I can move the decaying compost into an adjacent bin, thus speeding the process up. Compost is activated by ait and mustn't be denied it!

Ingredients for compost:

Kitchen vegetable waste.
Chopped comfrey leaves.
Fresh horse manure.
Chicken droppings. I
Green weeds and plant material from the allotment.
Leaves.
Straw.
Paper.

The Centre for Alternative Technology tells us that we can add one third of well moistened paper or card to compost. I use one third paper or card - or leaves - or straw to bulk up the quantity of compost produced.

In layers that do not contain animal manures, I sprinkle lime to balance the pH of the compost.

I also add what Lawrence Hills called 'Household liquid activator'.

I cover the rotting compost with plastic sheets to stop nutrients being washed away by rain.

The process will take six months in warm weather but longer through the winter months.

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