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Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Composting Story

   Years ago we made the move away from chemical fertilizer and pesticides,this increased the amount of compost production greatly.Living in a very traditional small farming community that has dumped lime and fertilizer on gardens for years this strange practice from this new comer caught quite a few stares from passing cars and trucks.The bigger our piles got the more I tried to keep them manageable and neat.My first pile was made from old pallets found in a storage shed turned on edge and tied together with wire.Wire rings made from left over sections of fencing worked well however it made them difficult to turn.When my neighbor,who has a mowing service,asked if I would mind if he occasionally dumped some clippings on site the piles quickly grew in size.Not long after that I started buying cut off lumber from a man with a saw mill up the road,the eight and ten foot boards were cheap and made large boxes when notched and stacked.Fall came that year and the trees were giving us all the leaves we could shred along with droppings from the chicken coop and kitchen waste these boxes filled up.The amount of compost we were making covered my main garden 70'x100' with a two inch layer and we still had enough left over to use as mulch over the gardening season.
   This year we broke down and purchased a tractor with a front end loader,now turning these piles would be a snap,one problem,the boxes had to be taken apart in order to get in with the tractor.I started looking around and pulled out some cedar post we had cut last year and decided it was time for a new design.I took the tiller and turned the ground where I wanted the bins located and set my first three post.With the help of my girls we went through a pile of boards from the old bins.We set our last few post and started putting up the boards leaving one side open.Now I have two compost bins back to back 9'x8'x36" that we can drive into in order to fill,turn,and empty with ease.Time to start getting busy filling these so we can create more of that wonderful soil building additive that gives back as much as we put in to it.