The above picture shows the end result, but once I’ve taken all my lovely compost and dug it into the garden, it’s time to start all over again. This is what I do...
Over a period of months I’ve been collecting all our kitchen scraps, lawn clippings and other organic waste into the black bin, plus each year when I do any big garden tidy up, I gather up dead punga branches, hedge trimmings and any other stuff that’s too big and woody to fit in the bin. When gathering this into heaps I usually do it in layers giving each layer a dusting of lime, which controls acidity and encourages insect life. I sometimes add a spade full of soil which I reckon helps in the decomposition process as it’s usually full of all kinds of micro-organisms. I leave it sitting in a pile for about a year in a shady corner of the garden.
Using the wooden frame (which has 4 pointed corner posts which poke into the ground) I use my body weight to dig the stakes into the ground, positioning it wherever I have space.
Then I start forking the contents of the bin into the box, spreading it evenly in layers.
Each layer I give a dusting of lime as I alternate between the wet mushy contents of the bin and the dryer more twiggy, punga branches etc, which is already partly decomposed, making it like a huge multi-layered sandwich. I reckon the twiggy stuff helps to keep the stack airated which also encourages insect life.
This process of layering serves the same purpose as giving a compost heap a good mixing which is recommended in order to achieve the right consistency, not too wet, not too twiggy and coarse, but crumbly and full of insect life, especially worms. By the time it’s ready to use it will be well on the way to being returned to soil but full of rich goodness and life.
When I’ve used up all the ingredients I put something over the top to keep the rain off it and then leave it for about 4-6 months. In the mean time I work at filling the bin again and gathering up more branches for the next batch.