Compost Series – Part IV – Other things

Sorry it has taken for this the last in my Compost Series. There were Internet problems, personal problems, and other problems that have been plaguing me over the past several weeks. Anyway, this will attempt to cover some of the other composting methods out there, but it I can’t claim to know all about every composting method out there.

There are several other methods of disposing of household and small farm wastes that are interesting to consider. Please read on to discover some of the cooler things that can be done and what some uses for the compost created.

Lasagna Garden:
Named for the layers used to create your garden bed, not for the food. The basic principle in a Lasagna Garden is that you take your greens and browns and layer them on top of a bed of cardboard or newspaper, with a layer of sticks to provide a bit of air flow at the bottom. While you can start a lasagna garden in the spring, fall (like right now) is the best time to let it cook over the winter. We started our garden last spring with our cardboard layer, then sticks, a layer of shredded paper from 10 years of old documents (my poor shredder!), a layer of fresh cut grass, a layer of dead hay, a layer of alpaca poo and finally a layer of fresh soil since we needed to give the seeds a good start while the compost was getting going. We had an awesome garden this year. Last weekend, we closed up the garden and put in a fresh layer of dead hay and topped it off with alpaca poo and covered it up for the winter.

For more information on lasagna gardens a quick search on the Internet will reveal a wealth of information, much more than I can provide here. Take a look at the Google results:

Worm Bin:
A Worm Bin is, as the name implies, a container that holds worms that is used to dispose of household food wastes. Our worm bin is made from two plastic storage containers with a couple of small butter tubs at the bottom to allow for drainage at the the bottom of the bin. The worms are put to bed in a mixture of shredded paper and wet leaves and then food scraps are occasionally added for the worms to eat. In about three months, window screen is set on top of the worm bed and new bedding material is added. The worm’s new food is added in the upper layer while they complete the feast in the lower layer. In about another three months, the top layer is lifted using the screen and the bottom bit is harvested as completed vermi-compost. The top layer becomes the bottom layer and the process starts again by placing the screen on top and new bedding material.

The worms are called red wigglers with a scientific name of  “Eisenia Foetida”. They are the best worms for the job and you can usually purchase enough worms to start your own bin for about $25 or so. I attempted to harvest the worms myself for the process and quickly discovered that at about 1000 worms per pound, and you need about a pound to get started, buying them from someone else was much faster, easier, and more reliable, as I wasn’t sure I got all the right kind of worms from my compost pile.

Worms LOVE

Worms HATE

Breads & Grains
Coffee grounds & filter
Tea bags
Dairy Products

Again, for more information on worm bins, the Internet is a wonderful place:

Pet waste:
This is one thing that we don’t do here personally. However, you can put a bin into the ground and compost your pet waste there. Do not put pet waste on your garden or down the drain! Here is a step-by-step process copied from the following address:

  1. Take and old garbage can and drill a dozen or so holes in the side.
  2. Cut out the bottom (A keyhole saw works great for this.)
  3. Dig a hole in the ground, deep enough for the garbage can.
  4. Toss some rocks or gravel in the hole for drainage and position the garbage can so it’s a little higher than the soil level.
  5. Place the lid on top (you might want to paint it with something like Dog Waste Composter.)
  6. When you scoop some poop, put it in the hole and sprinkle in some septic starter (available at hardware stores) and add some water.

I hope this series was interesting to someone, and I apologize again for how long it took to get it completed.

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