Monday, 7 November 2016

Autumn Allotment Jobs - Putting The Compost To Bed

Pallet Compost Bin
Pallet Compost Bin - Full and Ready to Shut Down

For me composting is one of the foundation stones of a good allotment.

Recycling cleared crops and weeds to provide nutrients and soil conditioning to the growing beds year on year.

I have three compost bins on my plot - the idea is that one  or two are "live" at any given time - while another is closed down and left to rot down into good quality compost.

These are built from old wooden pallets - which are wonderful for constructing compost bins if you can get hold of them.

Pallet Compost Bin
This Autumn I've emptied one that has been full and rotting down all through Spring and Summer, spreading the finished compost onto the growing beds. I don't bother digging this in, I just leave it for the worms and weather to work it into the soil naturally.

This is now my "live" compost bin that I'm filling with the green waste from Autumn harvested crops and weeding.

Pallet Compost Bin
A second bin - which I've been filling up through Spring and Summer - has now been closed down and put to bed. I'll give this a full year to mature before emptying it onto the growing beds next Autumn.

To do this I've put a layer of cardboard on top, then covered this with a layer of wood chips. This will help to keep the heat in and the compost to rot down and mature more quickly. At the same time it will let the rain in - as some moisture is needed for the process.

So next Autumn I can empty out around half a ton of rich compost - all for free - and the whole natural cycle begins again.

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