Composting Events and news
We are advised to add a layer of twigs at the bottom of the compost bin so as to assist with aeration of the bin and this works well if the contents are not being turned. If the contents are being turned it is likely that many of the woody items from the bottom of the initial bin will end up spread throughout the contents wheb turned or end up on top of the bin. Woody items in the composting material will continue to aid aeration and any that have not been broken down during composting can be removed at the end of the process. However, those in the top layers of the bin can look untidy and put off new composters. They are not a problem and can be removed to reuse as the base of the next bin to be filled if a row of 3 or 4 bins are being used In this way they can be reused several times and never make the exciting journey along the row of bins.
Simple Compost extracts can be made in less than 20 minutes and applied immediately, making them very convenient if there is not enough time to brew aerated tea or to leave the compost for a long soak. While the extract will contain a lower population of microbes than compost tea made from the same compost it has a longer shelf life. Aerated Compost tea only has a shelf life of only 3-4 hours, while it is claimed that an extract has a shelf life of 1- 2 weeks. I recommend checking the smell of the extract before use to check that it has not turned anaerobic. If anaerobic it will have an unpleasant smell and should not be used
The extract will also contain the range of soluble nutrients found in the original compost.
Compost extracts require a larger volume of compost than teas. It is recommended to use about a kilogram (or 3 cups) in 5 gallons of clean rainwater.
It can be used as a soil drench, to boost the soil round established trees, on lawns and even as a root dip during transplanting. Both the liquid and compost remaining in the bag makes a useful activator added to compost heaps.
The Extract can be made agitating or vigorously mixing compost in a bucket of water, or by running water at pressure through compost. The easiest method of doing this is to put the compost in a mesh screen bag, as would be used for making aerated compost tea. Put the bag in a bucket of clean rainwater and leave until the compost is soaked. Some recommended gently squeezing the bag so that the maximum number of microbes and nutrients are released. The bag can be agitated for a few minutes so that the water washes through the compost. The bag is then left for another five minutes, and the agitation repeated.
If made in the “bag” it will probably not require filtering before use.A
The Composting year. A weekly dip into our allotment community compost reception bin. The stalks are continuing tobe added, These will be chopped into about 2 inch lengths and crushed by hitting with a hammer. This exposes a greater surface are for the composting bugs to work on.
When visiting allotments I find large numbers bins with complete brassica stalks relatively unaffected by the composting process occuring in the materials round them. Do you chop and crush?
We have also had a lot of this small plants. Anyone know what they are?
Answer on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carryoncomposting