Location: Bowdoin / Organic Garden / The Farm / Composting

Composting

Compost is an essential component of an organic farming system. The myriad benefits include improving moisture retention ability of the soil, as well as drainage, providing beneficial microbes, micronutrients, and making major nutrients more available to plants. As well as improving the soil, the composting process is an ecologically sound and beneficial way to deal with crop residue and other discarded farm supplies such as used potting soil and dead plants.

CompostingOur Recipe (per year)

10-12 bales of hay
2-3 yards shredded leaves
50 lbs rock phosphate
As much used potting soil as is available
Crop residues, weeds

Our Method

We use a cold composting method which saves us some time in labor, but also means that our pile takes a long time to become compost that we can spread on our beds.

Build a 3-wall structure 2 bales high, 3-4 bales long and one bale-length deep. Chop up crop residue as much as is practical, i.e. no pieces longer than 12". Lay on the ground between the bales to 6” thick. Spread 1-2" leaves on top, 1" potting soil, and an even sprinkling of rock phosphate. Continue this layering until the pile is as high as the hay bale walls. Let pile sit 1 ½-2 years, turning once or twice if time allows.