Friday, March 19, 2010

deconstructing the piles

Spent the morning tearing down the compost piles I started in late January and restacking them. The advantages of wire bins are clear over my older techniques; there were no terminally wet areas, so they stacks smelled like clean dirt.

By the time I got to the third one, I realized it was faster to "pick" off the outsides with a hoe and let it fall into a bucket placed against the pile. That way I could remix/layer that drier material in as desired later while working less and not have to rescoop it. For the first two piles I broke it all down flat and shoveled/scooped it back into the wire bins. Breaking down into buckets took about 1/2 the time and effort.

The leaf-only piles were making slow progress, but the leaf+scraps pile (the four-footer) had significant areas that looked nicely broken down. Since my piles are new, I saved the stuff that looked almost finished in another bucket and layered it near the top of my restacked piles. Hopefully that will disperse the microcritters to the other piles.

Exposed worms and doodlebugs were rationed among the piles. I wonder when those wonderful little Black Soldier Flies (with pics, see 2nd reply) will return? Apparently people pay to get them into their compost but I got some for free last year. They are not a nuisance, do not bite, don't like houses, and have the most ravenous wormy babies. Yay!

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