Aerobic composting of shredded garden waste. 

by cjj on March 13, 2015

These four images show the making of our first batch of compost in our brand new bins. Starting on the 8th February, about 5 weeks ago, (summer here) we spent 3 hours altogether mulching everything we could find! Lots of stuff from the garden, and also leaves and thin branches from a large eucalyptus tree branch that had fallen near the house.
IMG_9776.JPGIn the end we completely filled one side of the double bin. (below). We used a lot of water to wet the stuff as we mulched it, but I think we should have used a lot more. Five days later I thought it would be ready to toss into the next chamber to continue composting. But it was still quite hot so I left it for another 5 days.

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10 days after mulching, I tossed it into the next chamber and I put a lot more water on it. I fixed a hose to spray onto it the whole time. This time I think it has got a lot hotter, and is certainly staying hot longer.

IMG_0060.JPGThe last photo shows a stick that I have stuck into the pile. Its about 40cm (15 inches) long. It acts as my thermometer. When I pull it out and feel it, it tells me that the centre of the heap is still very hot! (Maybe 60°C or 70°C) The height of the heap has dropped about 15cm (6 inches).

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Once it has cooled off, I will have to decide if I want to toss it back into the other chamber for more composting. If I had wet it enough the first time, that would definitely not be necessary. The idea is to compost the inside, then toss it so the outside stuff is covered by the already composted inside. But this heap did not have enough moisture to compost properly during those first 10 days.

I don’t know how good the compost will be because of all the eucalyptus that is in it. I’ve heard that that could be a bit too waterproof … but we will see. One thing is for sure, we have certainly enjoyed the aroma of it wofting around our yard.

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