Compost is an important source of nutrients and fertile soil for the garden beds.
The Compost working group makes sure we are well stocked. Members help manage the bins and maintain our worm farms with regular feeding and care.
We produce compost using the hot composting approach, setting up a new batch at most monthly working bees. Hot compost breaks down much faster than regular compost in closed bins through aerobic decomposition (meaning it breaks down the waste using oxygen).
We have two wire bins in which we layer sawdust, ribboned newspaper, browned dry leaves and straw – this is the carbon component. The nitrogen component is the green waste from the community garden and the compost from the bins. We also add plenty of water, which helps the bacteria work efficiently.
The carbon ratio should be much greater than the nitrogen. Once in place, the wire bin is covered with black plastic – nothing else gets added after this point. The water, along with the heat of the day and air, helps break down all the components in the bin.
After approximately 5 days, the contents of the bins need to be turned inside out to release the heat. The breaking-down process then continues, with turning every few days for about 4-6 weeks. The worms head down to the bottom of heap during the heat build up and then return to help with breakdown process.
The compost volume will reduce by 50%, leaving a rich earthy consistency. Once ready, the compost is sifted twice to remove items that take longer to break down, such as avocado stones, pineapple heads and woody stalks.
For more information or help with making compost, contact us using the email form on the right