We all know the saying that ‘our eyes are bigger than our stomach’ and what it feels like when we get that awful feeling after over eating, feeling bloated and sick. Well I have realised it also applies to an obsession with collecting organic matter to make compost and build soil. I am actively trying to build the soil where ever I am growing produce at Sophie’s Patch. To do this I make my own compost but I can’t produce enough compost from the organic matter I make here. So I source aged animals manures and old bales of straw. Even still I feel that I need more, so when I got a call at the start of the year that a friend planned to sweep out an aquaculture feed factory and had some grain based organic matter (with some fish meal, seaweed, vitamins and minerals) that would be good in the compost, I gladly accepted. They did warm me that there might be a bit and I was expecting a bulker bag full. Several months later when the offer materialised it turned out it was actually 10 bulker bags or approximately 8000kg!? Oh my goodness I hadn’t thought that through. But I am not a quitter and the thought of having a great quantity of compostable material caused me to book a crane trick and get the bags delivered.
A little bit of investigation and I realised I couldn’t just let the material compost by itself, I needed to make a proper compost pile, balancing carbon with the nitrogen. So I booked a bobcat and it mixed it with woody material. This large pile has been impregnated with microbes to help break it down. The truth is that this pile is slightly aromatic, which means I haven’t got then mix right but unlike a one cubic metre compost pile, which is easy to pull apart and remake when it isn’t balanced, 8000kg is a bit too big for me to turn by hand. So the bobcat is booked and we will turn it again, along with adding some more woody material, and more microbes.
Will this crazy process work? Well it should (I certainly hope so, all my fingers and toes are crossed) and I figure I have got several more months to keep turning it before I actually need to get it spread over my vegie patch ready for the summer crops, which can’t be planted into my soil till late October or early November when the risk of frost is over and the soil is sufficiently warm. I admit I may have been greedy and organic matter obsessed……………………… but just imagine how good my pumpkins and tomatoes will be this year, growing in soil boosted with this amazing brew!