Long, long ago (2009) in a land far, far away (Atlanta), I started composting. My bins were small, and progress seemed very slow. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing, but whatever it was, I was going to do it. Composting seems like such a magical process to me, so I was happy to learn at every step of the way.
I learned how to tell if my compost was too wet or too dry.
I learned that you can tell a lot by the smell of compost.
I learned that my little bins were not the ideal size.
I learned that you can’t really mess up compost.
When I moved to The Wallow, I made permanent space for my compost. Using pallets, I put together three bins on the east side of the barn.
Now that I’ve got a homestead, a lot more things go in the compost compared to when I was city-living. I shoveled a lot of pig shit last year, for instance. Chicken shit goes in there and the straw used for chicken bedding. Plus we have a lot more yard debris and the wood ash from heating with wood.
Every so often I turn the contents from one bin to another. The more often you turn your bins, the faster everything will process. I’m playing a long game here, though. I like to turn the compost so I can get a look at what’s going on in there, but I’m in no hurry so I don’t do it very often. Everything goes in the bins, and eventually everything comes back out as compost, but it doesn’t really matter to me how long that takes.
This spring I screened one bin to remove any remaining big stuff, then used the compost in my garden box.
Composting might be my very favorite thing about living the hippie-country life. I collect leftover organic matter from around my life, snuggle it all together in one place, and a year or so later with hardly any help from me, what comes out is a thick, rich substance that helps create more life. It’s a peaceful, valuable, sustainable, magical process.