Can’t Have Too Much Compost

Written by Paul on March 20th, 2016

Compost is the life blood of an organic farm. If your going to grow annual crops, compost is vital to supply the nutrients they will need. I am not sure I will ever entirely give up on annuals as I move towards a regenerative permaculture systems. I have been using the manure from the cows, pigs and chickens all winter in compost bins and layering under sheet mulch but this weekend I really decided to make compost a priority. I built and filled 4 compost bins, like the one pictured, out of pallets and filled them alternating between layers of manure, waste hay and a loam/sand mix. I have been trying to minimize inputs but because we have so little soil here, I felt it necessary to bring in 6 yards of loam. The sand should help to offset the heavy clay soil we do have here. These compost bins create a four foot square which should allow the compost to heat up to about 160 degrees F. This allows thermophilic bacteria to take over the process, rapidly breaking down the complex molecules into ones that can be more easily used by plants. Also by transforming volatile compounds into living organisms those nutrients that might be easily lost to the air or water cycle are captured and held in the soil and released as these organisms die and decompose.



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