Wednesday, 14 September 2016

About compost

It is this time of the year again, fallen leaves everywhere. We have few birches, one maple tree and one larch, the kind that drops its needles before winter. Not to mention some willows and other bushes. So there are more than enough leaves to rake! I thought it would be good idea to give you a glimpse to our backyard - by showing our compost system.

First I have to say that even though I like to upcycle and recycle as much as I can, I'm not a saint. I buy plastic bags way too often, we eat meat, we have a car, we have electric heating system etc. Overall usual family with usual things, even though I dare say we produce much less trash than some families. Anyway, there is one thing that is taken care of almost all the time and that is the compost.

That is also because we actually use the soil that comes out of it on our vegetable patch. It is so good for the vegetables that there is no sense in NOT using it. And of course, it's fully organic. Doesn't got a penny either. Our garden has some flowers but very few and that's only because the previous owner had planted them. We have moved some, removed some but left few that are easiest to take care of. Instead our small garden is full with vegetable patch, berry bushes and apple trees. When I say full, it means that there isn't really space for more plants but there is of course space for other things you need the garden for. Trampoline for the kids, barbeque etc. Just so that you don't think of some fully grown garden where you walk only under the apple trees or something. :D

The vegetable patches are more of a hobby of my husband, he likes to take care of it. Build new things, try new vegetables, things like that. We had some chili growing outside too this year, mad to do it here without greenhouse really and we didn't get really any. Maybe next year?

He also works with plants, sort of. He works for Naturvention (new Finnish company making active green walls that clean the indoor air, check it, it's really new and interesting innovation) and he sometimes brings soil home from work.

It is good combined with the compost. Naturvention buys the plants in pots with soil but the green walls don't have any soil so even the roots clean the air instead of producing "allergifying" microbes. Very clean, very fresh. The soil is washed out of the plants and is of course taken to be composted. Of course, if someone needs it, they can bring it home. That only makes sense, why take good soil to be composted and packed to plastic bags (again!) if you can use it right away? With this and our compost we hardly need to buy any soil.

Back to our compost. The process has three steps.

1. warm compost

Also known as "food compost" where all the leftover food goes. Potato and onion peels, leftover fruit parts etc. Also the leftover food goes here. If it has to be thrown away, it is at least doing good job here!

This compost stays warm also during cold weather. It is just a ball of plastic but the process of composting keeps it warm. It only freezes when it is actually winter -15-20 degrees Celsius but starts working again when the weather gets warmer.

When the warm compost is full it is emptied and becomes step 2.

2. Leaf compost/step 2 compost

As you can see, there are leaves, grass and branches. This is the place where all the organic garden waste goes. It doesn't smell or attract rats or birds so it can be composted just like this. It also composts pretty fast, faster than food waste anyway. The compost is like enormous lasagne; garden waste and stuff from food compost are in layers. Doesn't smell as the garden waste keeps it quite dry and the garden waste composts faster when the food compost moisturizes it.

Now it is best left alone, just let the nature do its job. Takes year or two before it is fully composted.

3. Fully composted soil

Like this:

This was before a pile like that in the previous photo but is now pure soil that can be used in the garden just as it is. When this pile is used, we can empty the food compost here and the circle starts again from the beginning.

How about you, do you own a compost, have thought of getting one, don't have a place for one or just have never gotten around getting one?

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