Monday, 17 February 2014

Compost

Over the last few days I have been sorting out my compost heaps, a job that here has never really been bothered with much.  Sounds crazy I know, considering the amount of plant material that is produced here, especially as I like to follow organic principles as far as I can.

Which got me to thinking - What actually is Compost?

I tested the internet with exactly that question and the first answer courtesy of Google was (and I'm quoting here),
'noun - decayed organic material used as a fertiliser for growing plants',
(read organic pertaining to once living, not as in the application/undertaking of organic farming principles)

'verb - make (vegetable matter or manure) into compost'

OK, so reading between the lines of those two statements, compost is the effect of decay on plant material and manure, which turns said material into a highly nutritious source of food for currently growing plants.

That sounds pretty darn good to me, free fertiliser that will help my existing plants grow big, strong and healthy.

According to www.bonnieplants.com and again I'm quoting here -
'Composting transforms garden and other vegetable waste into a dark, rich productive soil amendment the gardeners call Black Gold'

So in a way not only is it a form of fertliser/soil conditioner, it is a form of recycling too, and once said compost is incorporated into the soil it immediately improves the condition of that soil - making heavy soils easier to work - loosening them off and giving light soils better water retentive capabilities.  All round giving the plants better access to nutrients, therefore increasing the productivity of the soil.  WOW!

So, having turned all three bins, emptying one completely onto the manure pile I noticed that none of my resulting 'compost' looked like 'Black Gold'!  One was particularly dry, one particularly wet and the other wasn't too bad, although not quite decomposed enough.  More trial and research needed methinks!

First one emptied straight onto the manure pile, and yes I had help!

The other two still to go

The one that I thought didn't look too bad after turning

As above, but needs a bit longer I think




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