Monday, May 5, 2008

Our composting system

Back when we started this blog we promised to detail our composting setup. Today we make good on that promise. The reason to do it today? On Saturday I brewed 80 litres of beer, this means 40 pounds of spent malted barley got added to our compost. (Malted barley composts very well.)

We don't really have enough space for a traditional 3 bin composting system. So, I devised a pair of compost bins that take up less space and work well for us. The picture shows our system. We put fresh vegetable matter in the bin on the right. Every now and then we transfer some to the bin on the left. When we do the transfer, I always try to transfer already partially composted matter. Despite utmost diligence in turning your compost there is always more decomposed stuff on the bottom. Since the bin on the left is a tumbler it (during warm months) is able to render good material in a month if we tumble it regularly we are able to keep a good supply of compost when we need it.

Building it was quite simple. I made a footing out of cinder block and gravel and then some old 6x6 and 4x6 that I had lieing around provides the anchor and frame. I also had some 1/2 rebar that I cut into four foot lengths and toed through the anchor and the footing. Through the frame and the square composter I mounted a one inch piece of threaded ready bar with some PVC around it. That's the axle about which the composter rotates. You can see that in the picture. Before securing it I built the two end pieces of the tumbler, passed them on to the axle and then tightened all the nuts. Once I had the two end pieces on it was a simple matter of screwing on some more framing and then the outside siding. And of course the hinged door. It's fantastic. The only thing I might change is to add a collection bin underneath for the worm castings. Whenever I tumble it rich matter falls out.

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