Sunday, July 19, 2009

Worm poop, it's not just for breakfast anymore!

Calm down, I'm talking compost.

So this weekend I had to finally reap the harvest of the worms hard work. I wonder what Marx would think of that? LOL
I will be in real bad shape if they ever rise up and start a revolution. Tiny little pitchforks and torches!!! Thankfully they don't have thumbs.

ANY way, here is the basic set up:

compost set up1

The barrel that I used for my compost has a quick release lid, (probably should have taken a photo of that, oh well) for a nice side access to the compost.

Now, if you're like me and had been once upon a time perusing various composters on line, you will notice, the model standing next to the said composter is 1) clean 2) smiling and (most important) 3) has copious amounts of fresh clean debris free compost!

Me on the other hand is 1) filthy 2) smiling inwardly, swearing outwardly 3) I do have copious amounts of compost BUT it requires sifting.

So I thought to my self, "Self? Do these composters magically sift the contents?" Yes and no, the cheap ones don't but yet, they still have the clean smiling, spokes person with copious amounts of debris free compost aka they lie. The ones that are really expensive, not only have various stages of sifters, they also have an auger like devise within the composter that takes the raw compost material through various stages of screens so when it finally arrives a the exit, it's debris free!!! And results in a clean smiling spokes model. One little secret: not everything composts a the same rate.
So I can bet you, that at some point that clean smiling spokes model will have to get in to that high end composter and unclog the large pieces that didn't make it through.
Thus ending in a swear fest of epic proportions. That makes me warm and fuzzy inside. :)
So in other words, there is no free ride when it comes to composting. :)

With that rant behind us, let's examine my crazy set up. The photo yet again.

compost set up1
On the wheel barrel you will see my little sifter. Okay, time out, every-time I write "sifter", I think of two very strange events in my life: 1) ditty bop sifter (if you don't know what this is or means, don't worry, it's completely infantile and ridiculous) and 2) My brother and I, as kids, had to sift sand for the construction of our patio that my dad was putting in at our house where we grew up. One day, I had to find my brother because we had to sift sand. I found him over at one of his friend's house, I told him, "daddy, has a little game for us, it's called sift the sand". My brother groaned and rolled his eyes but for some reason two of his friends just thought that was completely hysterical. Meh, okay, that's out of the way.

Okay, so my sifter is basically 1/4" galvanized screen screwed to two 2x4's. Then placed over the wheel barrow. I shovel it on and "sift it". Basically, moving it around by hand. No smiling, nothing clean about it and the Texas sun allows for gi-normous amounts of sweating. Upon finishing though, I did have copious amounts of fresh clean smelling compost. What does fresh clean compost smell like? It smells like dirt.
If you aren't sure how that smells, go out side, squat down, plant your face in the ground and take a big inhale. Aside from the bugs up your nose, it will actually smell pretty good. And you will be over come by an ancient and mystical need to roll around in it. Uh huh, right. After the neighbors call the cops and you are release on bail, you will understand the need for subtleness.

Any WAY, plastic drop things (they are not cloth) are very handy and can be reused over and over. Place one under the opening of the barrel before you open it up. You will be very grateful for this. And you want to have an additional plastic drop thing for the large pieces that don't sift. They will eventually after they break down, but just not right now, okay? Get off my back!

After you have sifted a bunch of compost, run your hand through it. This is were I get all weepy. It's simply beautiful. It's so clean. It's nothing but pure nutrients. Get to know your soil. Know were it comes from and what's in it.

Okay, back to the photo again:

compost set up1
You see that big leaf "corral"? I use that for a number of things, 1) dry materials for my compost 2) mulch and 3) covering for walkways between my garden beds.

That's roughly 20 - 25 bags of leaves raked from our lawn over the period of 1 year that has decayed down to good solid mulch at the bottom.

Nature is an amazing machine; it oils, lubricates and replaces all its parts if you allow it to. We just have to work with it and let it do its job.

On a side note: I planted pumpkins and summer squash about 1 week ago. On the seed package directions it stated that they would show seedlings in 2 weeks. These little guys wait for no one, they are already over 3 inches tall through the mulch!

Well, that's it for today.

Remember, Green is Good!


1 comment:

ur sis said...

Wow, I had a major omigod flashback to childhood moment when you mentioned "sifting the sand." When Daddy and Nick Moscato were bricking the front of the house, I sifted a lot of sand in the driveway. Later on, I was assigned to wheelbarrow duty, mixing the cement. The good ole days...

Kudos for your compost. You walk the walk, my brothah...