My 22-Bucket Yield from a 5-Hour Stint of Relaxed Composting


5-hour process and yield

I celebrated our second batch of temperatures in the 60s this year by a dive into my compost pile. Well, not literally… it was more like a 5-hour overhaul. This is my way of relaxed composting. Spend at least 12 months piling, then remove the top 80 percent (but feels more like 99 percent) to get the great payoff.

The 'Relaxed' Composting Method

There are all kinds of ways to compost. Manufactured rotating bins will do it in weeks. I actually have a bin, gifted to me by a good friend, sitting in my garage waiting for me to assemble it. It will come in very handy for those items I want to make sure get to the higher temperatures that kill weed seeds and diseases. There are the multi-binned methods, making it easy to flip ingredients from one bin into the next as the compost gets stirred. There’s the permaculture method, even less work than mine, where the compostables are simply added to the garden beds to break down naturally.

The relaxed method I adhere to is an on-the-fly, in its own time, in my own fashion routine. For at least the past decade, my bins have been fashioned out of loose brick. This allows me to locate my bin wherever I wish and to change size and shape at will. It also supports me in my brick fetish, that may or may not be related to a childhood yearning for Legos® before there was such a thing.

I have friends who are more deliberate and diligent about their composting, cutting the larger pieces like corn stalks and tomato plants into shorter bits that will break down more quickly. I have done this to some degree in the past but find that my time always shifts to the kitchen, building more beds, or some other pursuit that grabs the creative parts of my brain. I’m guessing if I had a chopping machine of some sort or a bevy of human helpers, I’d be more diligent.

3/4/2016 8:04:17 AM

I make mine out of overgrown christmas trees (5-8 inch diameter) cut into 5-1/2 foot lengths and stacked. Once a year or so I tear down the oldest one, and rebuild with newer logs in a new location.

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