Off to the Ranch #22: Turning the compost | Adding matter | Temperature

in HiveGarden7 months ago

Heeeyho Readers! More updates from our little ranch!


If I forget to post on Hive Garden @riverflows is gonna flip-flop my ass off.

Ooeeee! It's 8°C outside and howling winds are picking up. There's a cyclone approaching southern Brazil; we expect 100km/h winds. Everything is tied up and hopefully I won't have the brilliant idea of going out for a bicycle spin to the far reaches of the outer space.

We achieved nothing much at the ranch this weekend. On Saturday, Dad and I removed a tree that's fallen down and started opening another cattle path that's blocked with fallen eucalyptus. At night, we enjoyed a beer or two at the local festa to celebrate the city's anniversary — 34 years old, a juvenile like myself.

I also took the time to turn and add more matter into the compost. That's what I'd like to share today.

Check the previous compost update Off to the Ranch #20: Our composter went kaboosh!

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Compost after two weeks


The photo above shows how our compost looks like after ~15 days. It's composition is a mix of a base layer of banana leaves, cow manure, grass clippings, and dry leaves. I'd say the greens to browns ratio is 50/50.

I never found an accurate information on when to turn the compost, but one website mentions it's ideal to wait at least two weeks to let the core heat up — just about time. I grabbed good ole fork to do the job.

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Getting ready to turn


Despite looking dry on the surface, I soon discovered the bottom of our compost was decomposing rather nicely. The cow manure and dry leaves are mostly gone, while the grass clippings are still there.

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The bottom is decomposing

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First turn


The compost has lost volume compared to last week, which is good (I guess). At least it's a chance to add more matter. After the first turn I decided to test for humidity. Here's what I found online about the subject:

A simplest hands-on test is to take a handful of compost from between 18-24 inches into the heap or bin, and squeeze it in a gloved hand. If the moisture content is between 40% - 60% it should react like a wet sponge staying compressed and releasing relatively little water. — Source: Compost Moisture

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Squeeeeeze

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poop... looks good


Now it's time to add more matter. Here's where our mother bunker of a chicken coop shines. Having a concrete floor makes it so easy to collect chicken manure; just swipe the floor and done. Below photos show the chicken coop after cleaning.

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chicken coop after cleaning


Fifteen days of chicken pooping yielded a wheelbarrow load of poop that's going into the compost. We are now collecting chicken poop using straw as bedding. Saw dust is also great, but I found out it takes a lot of time to decompose saw dust.

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A poop load of wheelbarrow


I evenly distributed the poop over the compost and proceeded to turn once again. Here's what I found about chicken manure:

[...]chicken manure is: A good soil amendment, chicken manure adds organic matter and increases the water holding capacity and beneficial biota in soil. A good fertilizer; chicken manure provides Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium to you plants (more than horse, cow or steer manure). — Source: Composting Chicken Manure - Tilth Alliance

I also added more vegetable scraps to increase the greens composition. Because I've read the greens help increasing the heat, I thought adding more would be beneficial during the upcoming winter.

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green green

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green green green


One last turn to cover the food waste and done. I found out food waste decomposes incredibly fast, so possibly all that will be gone next week. Lastly, I added some water to make sure it's all wet and sexy.

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final

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shhhhhh


Ah! I know nothing about compost temperature, but something tells me that 8-10°C is quite low to keep the organisms hot and cozy. I love them so much. On a last move, I added a tarp over the compost. I plan to transfer everything into a tumbler, but I haven't got the money to buy the materials to build one. I hope it works.

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Cozy


Let's see how this thing evolves over the week.

Until then, see you around.

Peace.


Did you know that I have a book out? Check this!

Access Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/6500272773?

Sem Título-2.jpg


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~Love ya all,


Disclaimer: The author of this post is a convict broke backpacker, who has travelled more than 10.000 km hitchhiking and more than 5.000 km cycling. Following him may cause severe problems of wanderlust and inquietud. You've been warned.


I'm Arthur. I blog about Adventure Stories, Brazil, Travel, Camping, & Life Experiences.

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It looks like you have your compost bin pretty well figured out. Fresh chicken poop is definitely good for the compost pile, but it's a bit too hot to put directly on a garden bed that is growing. I found that out the hard way...

Thank you! I also heard chicken poop is way to rich in ammonium, but I'm not sure how that affects the compost negatively. I hope it doesn't kill the earthworms

 7 months ago  

Hahaha dead right!!!! Now you are in the right spot!

I love them so much.

Spoken like a true compost farmer! You are NAILING all this and honestly doing all this at the ranch beats the kid at his PC in his room doing sod all a few years back. I mean, I know you went on a couple of bike rides but still .. 🤪

This post makes me want to go turn my compost pile ..

We get super jealous of our compost, wtf? I don't let my dad mess with it \o
It's getting better, learning from mistakes and improving

Ranch life is awesome, though I'm getting the urge to travel again
Hey! I think I found one of those Unimog trucks; gotta check to see if it's for sale

 7 months ago  

Oh man, unimogs are so expensive! Have you sold that car of yours yet?

Noooooo, haven't sold yet. With 12% inflation I'll sell only when I have something else to buy.

Oh man, unimogs are so expensive!

Yes, and super rare around here. I'll go check it out this weekend, but something tells me the owner doesn't want to sell.

 6 months ago  

Let me know what happens either way

Yiiiis you'll be the first to know

 7 months ago  

compost is the best. My husband is super keen on his.... yawn... lol... but so good to add for soil health and growing.

It's awesome to see how it changes over time, from a bunch of waste into fertile soil. I'm loving it. And then seeing earthworms reproducing from nowhere \o\

 7 months ago  

100% compost is actually really cool. Totally geeky.. but i have really been watching some of the you tube stuff of soil health and things. OMg its totally fascinating... My Husband randomly did soil health subjects at uni so he knew a lot already. But so interesting. We are making all our own soil for our new little backyard farm venture. turning garden waste and food scraps into soil. we have saved thousands of dollars.

It can get super scientific that's for sure. I've only managed to learn the basics of greens and brows and what to avoid in the compost, but there are videos talking about temperature, ideal moisture, green/brown ratios and etc

Thank God for us, small farmers, the current fertilizer crisis won't be an issue (I hope)

 6 months ago  

ive seen talk about "fertilizer Crisis" and others talking about no compost to buy. I have not seen this here yet.
toilet paper... we couldn't buy toilet paper, and there are no canned oysters in any shop for months. but fertilizer we are all good on a local scale.
Yes making our own has saved us like $1000 im sure. its just stuff we would have thrown out!

Hmmm, yeah, to be quite honest I don't know how much the fertilizer crisis will affect us in Brazil; 85% of our fertilizer comes from abroad, mostly Russia (26%). So far we haven't had any goods shortage, but prices are ramping.

This is exciting stuff! Makes me want to dig my hands into the compost you're building! Keep them composting posts coming, and best wishes for weathering through the cyclone. I gather you live down in the stormy part of South America. Roaring 40's? ... or even just 30's?

Yoooo, David! I wish you could smell that compost; it's smelling so good.

I gather you live down in the stormy part of South America. Roaring 40's? ... or even just 30's?

I'm on latitude 32.0408°S. Today is blowing 30-35 knots with 45-50kt gusts from the West. Tomorrow it shifts southerly and loses intensity. Ufff. It's all fine though. Gotta check the beach on Thursday to see how bad it was.

Such an accurate report! Iḿ impressed... Yeah, a quick look on the map made it clear that Brazil doesn't even reach into the 40's. Though from what I've heard (and which you just verified), southern South America can be pretty stormy in general. Oh hey, I've just noticed: the Californian property I'll be active on (hopefully soon) is also on 32-something degrees, just on the northern hemisphere.

southern South America can be pretty stormy in general

Yeees! A lot. The shore here where I live has some 300 registered ship wrecks from all eras due to the winds. But nothing beats Patagonia; it's just way too unpredictable.

Do you still have that bamboo bike?

Dude, that bike got stolen, robbed, gypped, ... How should I put it? I tried to sell it, and the bastards scammed me. I even wrote a post about it.

Fuck me. I did not know. I'll check the story. Bike thieves should have their legs broken, seriously.

Nice job on the bin, I agree 8c is a little low, I have been thinking about getting a tumbler style compost bin, they look to make things so much easier.

Aren't those tumblers amazing? And they are not difficult to make. All we need is one of those blue drums (barrels). I think they sell for about 20-30 bucks around here. I'll create a tutorial if I can get my hands in one.


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