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Creative Compost Workshop updates and answers

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Further to our Composting Workshop of Feb 28th, an update about the Compost pile that was built by a joint effort of all in attendance.  The pile, as I mentioned, was a little too dry on the day it was made and it needed to be mixed better.  I promised to rebuild it with a higher water content the following day. Prior to rebuilding it I took a temperature reading and it was at a tepid 80F after 24 hours. This is not what would normally happen if the right moisture and mixture was achieved from the onset.  After I took the wire cage off, placed it along side the pile, forked the material back into the cage while spraying with water (in a rain storm!) and replaced the tarp, I re-inserted the thermometer and waited. The next day, Tuesday, the temp was 132F, Wednesday 140F and today, Thursday, a lovely 144F.  At this temp I will leave it until Saturday before I make the first real thermal turn.  If the temp goes up to the 155F to 165F range I will turn it tomorrow.  So far it is doing splendidly!

Now, as for other questions from the workshop…

Question:  Why do you water the materials prior to building a pile? Answer:  All dry, carbon ingredients benefit from being wetted down for 3 days prior. This is not a rule, it is just a really good idea, as the microbes wake up and are ready to work.If this step is ignored you will be waiting longer for the temp to rise.

Question: What was the purpose of putting greens in a bucket of water?

Answer:  If you take a 5 gallon pail, put fresh greens in to the 1/3 full mark, fill with good water (not chlorinated) and leave for 24 hours, you will have a very good protozoan infusion to apply to your soil or compost. The protozoa family that results from this process is flaggelates.  They are part of the group that consume bacteria and are very important for the nutrient cycling process.

Question:  Where do the initial microbes come from?

Answer:  The microbes that we are growing, promoting and incouraging are all around us all the time. Every surface of every piece of material you use in your compost (as long as it isn’t exposed to pesticides) is covered in all the microbes you will need. We are just creating an environment where they really get to reproduce and flourish.

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