Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Black Gold, Tennessee-style

No, I don't mean oil - I mean compost! Compost is decomposed organic matter, and if there's one thing this farm has plenty of, it's organic matter in various stages of decomposition! In fact, the horses and the chickens seem to be in a race to produce organic matter. So much organic matter that we're hauling it away by the wheelbarrow-load! So, why not capitalize on that fact?

There are many alternatives for making compost; you could purchase a composter (http://www.naturemill.com/, www.gardeners.com/Composters/ ), build a composter (http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Tumbling-Composter ) or just use a simple pile method (http://www.compostguide.com/). Here at Thistledew we use the pile method with great success.

If you don't have livestock producing raw materials for you at your house, you can still have compost. Leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, leftover fruit and vegetables, peelings and eggshells will all work beautifully. At our house, the chickens get first dibs on scraps (the dogs get any meat - which doesn't go to waste often, poor dogs!), and anything they won't eat gets buried in the pile. When I clean the chicken coop, the soiled bedding goes into the pile. Likewise for the horse debris. I also throw old hay or straw, shredded paper and old coffee grounds in there.

Periodically, (every couple of weeks, or so) I soak the pile down with the hose and give it a few turns with the pitchfork. I find the pile easier to turn after I wet it, but your mileage may vary on that. Seriously - that's it. It really is that simple to make a fabulous soil conditioner and reduce the amount of garbage that ends up in a landfill somewhere. It's SOOO easy being green!

So, when my dear husband asks me what I want for Christmas this year, here's the answer! Because I'm really getting sick of looking at the coffee can I'm using now!


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