Monday, May 30, 2011

Building a Composting Pile - Tutorial

Composting is one of the pillars of homesteading. It gives you a place to throw away food scraps or gardening waste while creating the gardener's gold: TOPSOIL.

You can go out and buy one or you can build one yourself.

The ones you can buy often are tumblers, which have four main problems:

1. They aren't even connected to the ground, so no insects or other compost-helpers can enter.
2. The tumbling creates a dicruption for the compost-workers and it is really not recommended. I know these thingies have become quite popular recently but I for one do not want my workers to be smooshed and killed; I need them to WORK.
3. They are made of plastic, which is toxic and cannot be recycled.
4. Price.

Obviously, we built ours. I chose a design that is simple and has been successsfully used for centuries in Europe. My father built our compost pile like that and many bio-dynamic gardeners have been using it. So, it is not some fad design.

The key thing is that you put it on soil so that all sorts of small benefitial creatures can enter and do the turning-trash-into-topsoil-work. It is also important to allow air in.

When Roberto saw the design, he immediately said "Lincoln Log, that's easy." So you got an idea of what we were making.

To be perfectly inline with bio-dynamic principles, that thing oughta be square.

However, our space was somewhat limited so we made ours rectangular 3 by 5 feet (1m x 1.7m) and a height of a tad more than a yard (about one meter).

We used:

4 pieces of 2x3's (pillars) each 4 feet in length
18 pieces of 2x3's each 5 feet in length
18 pieces of 2x3's each 3 feet in length

First, we put the four pillars in the ground.

Then we started lincoln-logging.

Cost us less than $30.

The plan is to put a reet fence over it, but our home despot had run out of the right size for us. . .

"Nature never says one thing and wisdom another." Decimus Junius Juvenalis

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