In a recent post on compost I mentioned a fast compost method of turning the compost every day for two weeks. I put it to the test. I brought home a truckload of horse manure, built two bins and filled one bin. I wanted to give it plenty of air so I also mixed in two well-rotted bales of straw that sat in my garden all summer. As I built the pile I sprayed it down with the hose. This pile measures 4x4x4 and is made of an old roll of fence a friend gave us and some boards my father in law gave us.
For two weeks I turned this compost pile. Sometimes before work, sometimes after work. But almost every day it got turned. There were a few days when hot steam was rising out of the compost pile as I turned it at 5:30 in the morning. A light breeze carried the steam right in my face. I guess it could have been worse but it wasn’t great.
Two long weeks.
Two long, miserable, tiring weeks.
Each day the compost pile heated up. Each day I turned it. The pile stayed pretty hot the whole time.
We’re at the end of two weeks. Now I’m sifting the compost out, mixing it with a few other ingredients and starting a new pile. The finished compost is being mined out of the right. Anything that is not finished (doesn’t pass through the screen) gets placed on the new pile on the left. The pile on the left is mostly another truckload of horse manure I hauled from the barn on Sunday. I would guess about 60% of the bulk doesn’t fit through the screen and needs to compost further. This could have been improved if I hadn’t put the straw bales in or if I had chopped the material to start with.
I mix the compost in the wheelbarrow with a bit of crushed char from the fire pit and either a coco coir brick or well-rotted sawdust. This gives me a good bedding medium but it still needs to cure before planting. It’s just too hot. Please ignore the grass growing in my greenhouse.
So I guess that’s that. Fast compost. I’m not sure I’ll do that again. I’m a little sore. I think it’s far better to just plan ahead. Or buy a tractor with a loader on it.