|A previous compost fully matured.|
The kitchen composts contains all those things we don't want blowing around the chicken run such as scraps of paper and various woody bits, weeds and seeds. The problem with the kitchen compost is although it breaks down it is a cold composting technique which keeps the seeds viable.
|Empty Kitchen Compost|
I'd already started building the layers of the NZ compost using some of the material from the top most section of the previous one which hadn't quite broken down. In particular it held Couch Grass runners which hadn't been heated enough to kill them. This material was mixed with freshly mown grass to make sure it heated to the maximum.
The next phase was assembling alternating layers of mown grass, mulch hay and parts of the various collected material mentioned in the first paragraph. A lot of this material was wet and some of it partially decayed making it difficult to run through the mulcher. To assist the throughput the filter plate was removed. This plate has large holes which prevent material from leaving the mulcher until it has been chopped to a certain size. By removing the plate anything going into the mulcher is hammered heavily but exits very easily. We found this technique works well with both wet material and fibrous vegetation such as palms.
|Mulched Kitchen Compost|
The entire afternoon until dusk was spent on this project. Layer after layer of hay, grass clippings and mulched material spread in the compost box with occasional dustings of Dolomite and ash from the fireplace. Most of the material was wet and we watered only the dry mulch hay layer.
By nightfall every thing we had was used and we were at the top of the bin. The next morning it would be topped with some more grass clipping just ensure a lot of heat and then covered with some hay. A hole was poked into the centre with a steel bar to assist in aeration.
The end result is a clean and tidy yard. All the piles of pruning's gone (leaving a few bald patches) and the entire yard nicely mown. In five or six weeks this compost will be turned into the other bin making sure the outer edges go into the centre and allowed to heat up again. And then we will have more nutrition for our vegetables.