SCREEN FOR COMPOST SIFTING
THREE BIN COMPOST SYSTEM
FRESHLY TURNED/WATERED COMPOST
The compost lessons continue. Everywhere we go, everyone uses compost, but everyone makes it slightly differently. Today we learned yet another organic composting system. Carolyn is a huge advocate of heavily watering her compost piles; other people wet their compost, but no one adds this much moisture. There are three bins made of re-purposed wood palates lined up next to each other. One normally has compost that is ready, one has compost that is decomposing, and one is empty. You can use the ready compost when you like, and with that pile, we sifted it through a large screen to filter out any last bigger pieces of wood and branch debris. Everyone has a screening system, and no matter how it's set up, screening compost is really physically challenging. Shaking a hand screen, utilized on other farms, is really a chore, so we thought the permanent screen here would be a breeze. But the angle the permanent screen is set at was hard to work with. We had to be on our knees, scraping the compost through the screen with the backside of a metal rake. It was tough to get the proper leverage from the low angle with a rake whose handle was too long; we are still on the look out for the perfect screening system. We then turned a pile of compost from one bin into the empty one, and alternated it with layers of horse manure, while watering it with a hose constantly. Carolyn's system turns garden waste into finished compost in only 3 months, due to adding manure at the half way point, adding lots of water to speed up decomposition, and also by turning it only once. There are some other mineral rich additives she puts in like comfrey and nettle, so her finished compost looks pretty amazing. We're going to borrow some of these strategies for sure.
It's funny sometimes how one can get worked up over nothing. So the expression goes, don't cry over spilt milk. But when that figurative glass of milk spills and ruins your favorite, most expensive persian rug, tears fall. No tears were actually spilt today, but we felt guilty for something that in all reality was totally meaningless. We harvested favas for dinner in a large basket, and maybe got a bit carried away. We prepared enough favas to feed at least 8, more like 10 people, but there were only 5 of us dining. The fava patch is relatively small, and by taking a lot now, the opportunity to eat favas out of the garden throughout the rest of the summer will be limited. Also, Carolyn sells fava beans as seed, so she can't eat them all anyway. It's no big deal, but at dinner, several comments were made about the abundance of favas on the table, and how the excess tonight will hinder savoring them at other meals over the course of the summer. They tasted great, but somehow, we felt bad about the entire situation. Woe is us.