With fruits and vegetables in season and bearing fruit year round, we eat our fair share of produce. With all that produce we have plenty of rinds, ends, husks and other veggie and fruit parts we don’t eat.
We had been using an open compost system, which consisted of a small hole in the ground, in a 4’x4′ open top box. We used recycled wood pallets as the walls, and we let the micro organisms and nature do the rest. Ultimately we felt there were design flaws, and we weren’t harvesting as much compost as we would have liked.
After some debate, we came up with a partially open system, which could air out in the day, and be closed at night. We used an old 55 gallon orange juice drum, flipped it on its side and had some local metal fabricators bring or vision to life.
On either end of the barrel are two flaps which can be opened to increase air flow, and on the body of the barrel we cut two more square flaps on opposite ends, so we could fill it with composting goodies.
Composting requires air flow, moisture, herbivore manure, whatever organic waste you deem fit, and most importantly no animal protein. Our starter mix consisted of 1/4 of a black sandy soil, 1/4 rice husks, a scoop of the old compost, 1/4 of chicken manure, and a variety of vegetable and fruit scraps. Potential problems we foresee are not enough air flow, rotation on our current wood stand, and cost vs. out put.
We spent $50B on the barrel ($25US), $80B ($40 US) in labor, and the stand was made out of recycled wood. If the bin works, we’ve solved a major aesthetic issue as well as easier maintenance. We know that a second bin will be needed as the compost matures, however, right now we want to make sure the system works.
We are beginning to see results from the water run off. We soak the compost daily, and the run off water is captured in a bucket. This water is filled with minerals and natural fertilizer which we have been using to water our new seedlings in adjacent planter beds. It looks like almost all of the seeds we have planted have begun to sprout.
We are about 2 weeks in, and we think our recipe has a chance at some black gold. We are expecting it to be ready to go in another month or so. We’ll keep you composted on the results.