Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Today it was time to turn the compost heap.  For years I've been piling up lawn clippings, pruned leaves and twigs, kitchen scraps and chook manure to produce, well, a pile of stuff that ends up sitting in a corner of the yard for 6 months until I decide to put a garden bed in said spot. This time around, however, I think I've finally got a handle on making a hot compost heap.  The secret?  Sufficient water on each layer with further added each turn.

My face lit up this morning like that of a wicked witch cackling over her slowly bubbling cauldron while I tore down the compost heap.  The steam rose and wafted in my face, the decaying detritus emanating heat as if below it lay a portal to the underworld.  Then slowly I reassembled the pile layer up on layer, moving the outer dry covering into the base and centre.  With a spade I gathered the straw and leaves strewn by the searching claws of the chickens, adding it to the growing mound.  To each layer of dry debris I poured over a bucket of water to ensure ongoing decomposition hot enough to scald even the most insulated insects.

Finally, I raked together a lower ring as a buffer to the onslaught of beaks and claws so that in a few days, there might be sufficient mound remaining for the process to be repeated.

Soon to be destroyed and reborn

Deconstructed heap providing brief forage

The final mound - if you look hard enough it has eyes and gaping maw spewing forth its contents

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