Now that we live on an acreage, composting has taken on a whole different scale. We've got more piles, bigger piles and new things to compost.
Thanks to the previous owners, we have a large fenced-in garden – much larger than we did in the city. Our new garden created quite the pile of weeds and dead plants by the end of last growing season. There were a lot of seeds on those weeds, so I may not use that particular compost for another year or two. Thankfully we now have the luxury of space for it to sit there for a while.
Our newest source of compost is the horses. We have two horses who are turning hay and field grass into lovely manure for us. Every week, I go into the pen and clean up the manure. On the other side of their fence, I have created a horsey compost pile that should be a pretty decent size by spring – probably two cubic yards or so. It is a mix of uneaten hay, manure and a couple of other secret ingredients.
Since it's a larger pile, and hopefully will get decently hot, I'm also using it as the place to dispose of the cat litter. We are using the locally made barley cat litter called Litter Mate, which is compostable. I'll be monitoring the temperature of the pile to make sure it gets hot enough to kill any pathogens from the cat or horses. It is also where I am disposing of the ash from our wood stove. We have a great little Kent wood stove in our living room. We only burn un-treated wood in it, so the ash is an OK addition to the compost in relatively small amounts.
In total we have four composts going:
- one for kitchen waste (a wood-sided compost bin relatively close to the house)
- one for bones and kitchen waste (our bokashi bucket which I keep in the plant/sun room)
- one in the garden for weeds/garden plants ('freestyle' composting in a heap)
- one next to the horse pen for manure/cat/ash
It might sound complicated, but having the four locations makes it really quick to get compost to an appropriate spot each day. Once each pile is finished, it will be easily absorbed into our large garden. If I have extra horse compost, I know my neighbour wants some, so I don't see foresee problems with producing too much.
I can't wait for spring to come, to get compost dug into the ground and get planting. How about you? What unique things do you compost? Do you use the finished compost on your garden? Join the conversation below.