Sattin Hill Market Farming Course Module 17: Basic Composting (FSFS255)

Listen to more episodes of Farm Small Farm Smart

Episode Summary

This episode of Farm Small Farm Smart features the seventeenth module of the Sattin Hill Market Farming Course, where Josh Sattin talks about basic composting—determining your compost needs as well as what to think about if you’re considering building your own compost pile.

Today’s Guest: Josh Sattin

Josh Sattin is a farmer at Sattin Hill Farm in Raleigh, North North Carolina. As an educator and professional videographer, Josh has published hundreds of educational farming videos on his YouTube to help make a difference in the local farming and foodscape.

            Josh Sattin – YouTube | Instagram | Website

In this episode of Farm Small, Farm Smart

  • An overview of the Sattin Hill Farm Course Module 17 (00:55)
  • Determining your compost needs (01:11)
  • Different ways to make compost (03:51)
    • Making compost quickly(04:08)
  • Josh Sattin’s composting system (05:47)
    • The importance of having a dedicated composting area (06:00)
    • Keep the composting area accessible (06:54)
    • Make sure there’s a water source nearby (07:15)
    • How many bins and how big should they be? (07:30)
    • A basic compost bin setup (09:08)
  • Factors to consider when composting (11:40)
    • Getting just the right amount of moisture and monitoring it (11:44)
    • Compost inputs (13:58)
      • If you’re bringing in compost input from elsewhere (14:15)
    • Choosing your carbon sources (15:55)
      • Consider using fallen leaves (16:40)
    • Using woodchips for compost (17:50)
  • Inoculating your compost with good biology (19:27)
  • How Josh builds his compost piles (20:16)
  • Looking at finished compost (24:14)
    • Finishing up finished compost (25:05)
    • Other applications for compost (27:04)

Subscribe to Farm Small Farm Smart in your favorite podcast player:

iTunes | Spotify | PlayerFM

FSFS255 (SHFC #17)

[00:00:00] Diego Footer: Welcome to farm small farm smart. I'm your host Diego, DIEGO. Today, we're up to module 17 in the Sattin Hill farm course. This module is all about composting. If you wanna watch Josh's presentation. On this module, that would be helpful given that it's composting, you can do so on his YouTube channel, which I've linked to below.

[00:00:24] If you want written resources related to this module and all the other modules, visit paper, Also link to below. Now let's jump into it. Josh Sattin on composting.

[00:00:41] Josh Sattin: Welcome to module 17 of the Sattin hill farm course. This module is all about basic composting. And before we get into it, it's should to have a huge thanks to our sponsor paper pot co, without the help of Diego and paper pot co this entire course, wouldn't be possible. And more on them later.

[00:00:54] In this module, I'll be talking about determining your compost needs, timeframe, building a compost setup like this here, moisture, inputs, carbon sources, inoculating your compost piles and finishing the compost.

[00:01:11] Before we get into all the details about composting. I just want to talk to you for a few moments about determining your compost needs. What do you need to be doing on your farm or on your property? And before we start that, I just wanna have a big disclaimer. I am definitely not an expert about composting.

[00:01:26] I'm definitely not a guru. There are lots of ways to do all of this stuff. I'm just gonna kind of show you some of the stuff that I've been doing and I've, you know, it, it. Again, part of this is determining your needs. And for me, this is not a huge part of my operation, but it's something that I think is important.

[00:01:41] And so for me personally, I'll talk about that first and hopefully hopefully help you figure out what your needs are for your farm. You know, for me, when I had the farm here, originally, most of the waste coming off of the farm and. The kitchen scraps and stuff coming out of our, our home kitchen would get fed to the chickens, but we don't have chickens anymore.

[00:01:58] So the main motivation for me now is to just process the waste off of the farm. And so that's the biggest thing. And the reason why I'm doing it here. Now for everyone might have different motivations for some people you want might wanna be making more compost for your beds? You know, for me, it's, as I said, managing the waste of my farm and keeping that fertility on the farm.

[00:02:17] So as I crop out beds, you know, there's, there's stuff coming out of the field, that's gonna compost and it's gonna stay here on the property, which is great. It's also not going to a landfill or anything like that. Now I've said this plenty of times for the no-till market garden style that I run here. I don't recommend trying to make your own compost.

[00:02:33] I can only make a few yards a year probably with this system here. And as I said to start my farm, I bought 90 yards of compost. I also can't make the same quality of compost that I can buy. And for me to make even, uh, decently good compost, it takes a lot of time and effort. And also if you're trying to.

[00:02:51] Produce a lot of scale. You're gonna need a lot of inputs, which is way more than you have on your farm. You're gonna have to be bringing in materials from elsewhere. You need to be able to store that somewhere. You also need equipment to be able to move it. So once you get above a small scale, you're gonna need a front end loader and things like that and, and have space to do this.

[00:03:08] And then you start thinking about runoff and all that stuff. So when you're. Composting on scale things change a lot. Also it takes a lot of time to manage the compost piles from sourcing the ingredients, to getting them on, on site, to moving them around, to checking piles. That takes a lot of time. And for me, I'm gonna pay a professional to do that.

[00:03:25] So I would usually recommend buying it. For your, the most of the stuff that you need in your beds. Now that's not to say that you shouldn't be making compost on your farm. I think everyone should be composting. It's awesome. And it's a ton of fun and it, again, it's a great way to keep the waste recycled on your property and keep that fertility here, so that's sort of my main objective here with composting is just managing the waste coming off of my farm.

[00:03:51] As I just mentioned, there are a lot of ways to make compost and I'm not about to say one's better than the other. So a lot of people are, we usually ask me about, you know, the Johnson-Su bioreactor, or aerated compost piles or windrows or bins or this and that. Like I don't, I just, this is the way I do it.

[00:04:07] That's what I'm gonna show you. But in general, I, I think there's a lot of people that wanna rush compost. And make it as quickly as possible. Now for me personally, which when you'll see how the system works is that I don't really stress about that. If it takes a little bit longer, that's fine for me, you know, the inputs will eventually turn into compost.

[00:04:23] So if, if I start this process and it takes a year to make compost, that's fine because I'm still adding the same amount every month or every couple months, I still get the same output every couple months. So I'm in no rush. That's my system here. Now some of you might be more eager to get things broken down quicker.

[00:04:39] That's fine. There's different ways to do this. So, but in general, if you wanna make compost faster, right, you want to shorten the composting time. You're gonna require more time input. You're gonna be breaking down input. So if that's shredding materials or, or breaking things up as much as possible, that'll help speed up the, the decomposition process.

[00:04:59] If you're doing short term, you really gotta be checking temperatures. You gotta be monitoring stuff. Uh, more often flipping things. Checking the moisture levels, all that kind of stuff. Now, the other thing here is that after the first part of the composting process, where it heats up, we get a lot of worm activity in these bins and people have asked me all the time.

[00:05:18] Um, do you, did you inoculate the bins with worm? No, they just show up. So there's no bottoms on these. And as after the, the process cools down quite a bit, the worms find their way in. We get all that. Uh, Verma compost or Verma cast sort of mixed in. And so we got a really rich compost. So again, this is a very slow composting process, but it's fine for me because once you get it rolling after six to let's say 12 months, you always have an output coming outta the system.

[00:05:47] The system that I have in place here is basically the same system we had at Raleigh city farm, too. These. Bins that are made out of pallets and scrap wood. And I'll go through all the features and design and stuff like this in, in a few minutes. But before we get into that, I just want to talk for a moment about just having an area for composting.

[00:06:05] I think a lot of people overlook this step and I think it's crucial to F. Planning out your farm, which I mentioned in much earlier models in this course is have a dedicated area for composting. Because as soon as you start farming, there's gonna be crop residue and waste coming off the farm. And you need to have a plan to manage that, or it's gonna get outta control very quickly.

[00:06:24] So make sure you have a plan for that. Now you don't need to have bins like this, and of course, your scale and what you're doing on your farm will determine like the kind of stuff that you need. So you don't necessarily need to have bins. You can compost on the ground. There are lots of different options.

[00:06:37] But what I found is that when you have a dedicated compost station like this, it looks much nicer. You don't actually see the, the material and it, because it's a cool setup, it's fun to use, and it makes you wanna compost more often. And that, that can go a long way. When you get excited about making compost.

[00:06:52] That's a good thing. In addition to having dedicated setup, I think it's really important to keep it close by to wherever you're gonna be pulling crops off the field. Wherever is really accessible. If you have to lug all the crop residue and material to an area that's far away, it's not gonna happen as much.

[00:07:10] You're not gonna want to do it, make it convenient and easy. And it'll be awesome to, to do that. Now, another thing that's important is to. A water source nearby. And so we, we have a little hose here that we can add moisture whenever we want. So having it near, uh, a water source is great, cuz sometimes you do need to add moisture and we'll talk about that in a little bit.

[00:07:29] Now the number of bins in the size is something else that you're gonna to figure out and that will be determined by. How much waste comes off your farm, how big your farm is, how much you wanna be composting, other inputs that you're adding. It all depends. So one thing you wanna keep in mind is that usually the pile should be at least a cubic yard to get the temperature up and to get the composting action.

[00:07:50] So these bins here are, you know, pallets are about 40 inches or so. And so we get about a cubic yard here. So we get the size there. Now for me here, we have five bins. I think we could have a couple more. It would be good. And, uh, it's, it's never a problem having more bins. I, I, I feel like you could never have enough space for composting.

[00:08:08] No one ever complains about that. So the number of bins gives you that many more times that you can flip it, uh, from one bin to the next and also stage other materials and stuff like that. But if you are doing more material in a year, then you could go with bigger bins. You could have maybe two pallets wide or four pallets, you know, whatever, or maybe not pallets.

[00:08:26] Maybe you could build out some other material. So again, the number of bins and the size of the bins will be determined by how much material you're pushing through. But I would say in general, like five to seven bins or sections would probably be good to give you enough time and also have space to, to store finished compost for, for when you need it.

[00:08:43] At some point, this kind of system with a structure is not gonna work. You're gonna have to scale up, which is beyond the scope of what I know and what I do here, but you're gonna be using a frontend loader, probably using windrows, stuff like that. So this, as I said, this basic composting setup is really for, you know, under an acre for sure.

[00:08:59] Uh, but as I said, you can scale this up by making larger bins, and you can push quite a bit of compost through this system. Now, let give you some details about the compost bins and the setup here. So, as I mentioned, we have five bins here built out of pallets and scrap wood.

[00:09:15] And if you're interested in how these are built, I made a detailed video a while back, which I'll leave link down below in the description, but I'll give you the highlights here. So as I said, they are pallets screwed together. And then on the inside here, we have bits of scrap wood that are just, uh, screwed in to, uh, to keep all the compost in.

[00:09:31] I know a lot of people wanna have. You know, have a lot of air coming in and out. These are fine. These are not completely solid. Like air could still move in and out. A lot of people who are really good at composting even have solid walls made out of plywood. So the thing about, um, if you have chicken wire or a hardware cloth or something on the outside, the outside can dry out pretty easily too.

[00:09:50] And we're trying to keep moisture in here. So you. I think you could go either way, but I have not had any issue with it being, uh, solid on the walls. The fronts, nothing seals like air can definitely get in. So I wouldn't really worry about that too much. Uh, the scrap wood here are just whatever you can ha find.

[00:10:05] Uh, we use pieces, we bought a little bit of wood. We use some wood from my old compost setup. So lots of different options there. One big feature about these bins, which is crucial is the removable slatted front. The way this works is we just have two boards, um, screwed in the end here and another board right behind it here.

[00:10:23] And then the, um, the slots just slide right in. And the thing about this, which is great is as you are unloading, you can take out a few of the slots. And then when you go to grab your fork, you can get right in there. You don't have to like reach down in and that makes it a lot more ergonomic. And then before you fill them back up, just drop the SLS in and then you can fill them up.

[00:10:44] So works really, really well. Uh, another feature here is this cross bracing in the back that runs diagonally. This is, um, instrumental in keeping the rigidity of this setup because otherwise these just float around and they'll move, especially if one bin is more full than the other. So they're great. The reason why we have it on.

[00:11:01] Side is that I am a righty. And so as I'm shoveling compost, I'm gonna be shoveling it this way, because this is the first bin. So we're gonna be doing it this way. So I'm not getting in the way here. In addition to that, um, you gotta think about moisture, which we'll talk about in a little bit, but what we use here is some black plastic, just a little piece of black plastic over the top of the.

[00:11:23] So, um, yeah, that's basically it. And as I said, the size you wanna shoe for at least, uh, a cubic yard in size to really make sure the compost is, is happy. So again, go check out the video down below. If you want more details about this setup,

[00:11:40] There are several factors in composting to make it happen properly. And first of which is moisture, and we'll get to all the other stuff too, but let's talk about moisture first. The decomposition process or composting, it needs to have some moisture for it to work. The biology needs moisture. Now, if it's completely dry, it's not gonna work.

[00:11:56] If it's soaking wet and soggy, it's not gonna work either. So you always wanna find that balance. And like with most things in farming, there's no like hard rule. It's like, you get. You get some experience, you learn from it and you get a sense of what works and what doesn't. And especially with composting, when you are adding lots of different things over the course of the year, you're not always building your piles the same way, cuz it depends on your input.

[00:12:17] So again, this takes experience learning and paying attention and getting better overtime. So sometimes when you're cropping out, you'll have, you know, plants that are live. And so they'll have a lot of moisture in them or you have, you know, some fruit like squash or tomatoes or whatever that need to be composted.

[00:12:32] And they're gonna have a lot of moisture in them. So you wanna be conscious about when you're building your piles, like what you're putting in there, because if it's all really dry, then you need to add some moisture. But if it's some stuff that's. Could have a lot of moisture in it. You may not have to add so much water or maybe add an, um, any at all, when you're flipping the compost from one pile to the next, or from one bin to the next, you should be monitoring the, uh, the moisture and adding someone you need to.

[00:12:55] And that's why I say it's really good idea to have a water source right next to your compost station, which we do as a, it makes it really, really easy to do that. Um, in addition to that, you gotta think. The moisture that's in your environment. So here in North Carolina, you guys know that I protect the soil from heavy rains, same idea with the compost.

[00:13:14] If it gets too wet, it's not gonna be happy. So make sure you're covering your compost bins. If you get a lot of rain, some people go as far as putting even a roof over it to keep the water out, which would be awesome. We probably could benefit from that, but we didn't do that. What we've been using though, is as I mention.

[00:13:28] Little bits of black plastic that we lay down on top of the compost. And that helps quite a bit from getting the moisture to not go into the, the piles as much, and also keeps the moisture in if we don't have rain for a while. So. You'll learn this over time, right? Because if you get a lot of heavy rains, you don't want to be getting the stuff totally soaked.

[00:13:46] Uh, it won't be happy. And if you don't get enough rain, then you might have to add some moisture. So moisture is super important. You'll try to find that balance and, uh, get better overtime.

[00:13:58] Let's get on talking about inputs because inputs are a huge part of composting, obviously. And frankly, what you put in is kind of what you get out, which makes sense. So if you're putting in really basic inputs, Your compost when it's finished is not gonna be very diverse and very complex and not have a whole bunch of nutrients and biological diversity.

[00:14:16] So what we're trying to do. Add diversity into the compost bins to try to create a diverse compost, to have a really high quality compost when it's done. Now, the inputs could be lots of different things. You can use things like leaves, grass. Uh, you can use wood chips. We'll talk a little bit wood chips later, cuz they're a little bit tricky.

[00:14:32] The big inputs for me are gonna be crop residue off the, off the field. So either stuff that I need to crop out or waste or whatever, uh, you could also spend flowers from around your property or on your farm. And, uh, then one is leaves and we'll talk about carbon sources later, household food waste. So we take all the waste out of our kitchen.

[00:14:50] So we don't compost meat, but everything else from veggie scraps to coffee grounds, eggshells, all that stuff, uh, goes in the compost bin with all the other stuff. And that's actually a pretty small amount of the input for the compost. Most of it is gonna be stuff off the farm and leaves, but again, that.

[00:15:07] Feels good for me because I know that that food waste is not going to a landfill. It's gonna be composted and kept on the property here, which is great. Now, if you're bringing in materials from out, from out outside, if you are trying to create. More compost than what you generate from the inputs on your farm.

[00:15:22] Or, you know, if you're bringing in a carbon source like leaves or whatever, just make sure that you're careful about bringing those sources in and they don't have, um, pesticides on them because once those things get into your system, they're really hard to, to get out. So just be conscious about where you're getting your materials from, uh, especially if you're bringing large amounts of anything, because it can reek havoc.

[00:15:41] Once you put that out in your either vegetable beds or your flower beds. So again, Think about diversity, what, the more diverse inputs you put in the more diverse and better compost you'll have when it's all ready to go.

[00:15:55] Now let's talk about carbon and carbon is a huge part of the composting process, and you always wanna be conscious about getting enough carbon into your compost, because for me, as I said, the inputs that I�m getting off the farm are gonna be crop residue and food waste from our house. That's gonna be very high in nitrogen.

[00:16:12] And you've probably heard this before, but you wanna shoot for a ratio of 30 parts carbon to one part nitrogen. You know, that sounds good in theory, but you know, not everything is just carbon or just nitrogen. So you have to kind of figure that out as you go. And you'll learn this over time. Um, and figure out what balance works, and you'll sort of get an idea of like, oh, I put in too much this time.

[00:16:31] I didn't put in enough this time when I'm mixing with these crops again, this takes practice. And again, the inputs are not always the same, so you have to learn and get better at it. For me, the main carbon source that we've been using is leaves. And that's because we're an area with a lot of deciduous trees and we can collect a lot of leaves.

[00:16:47] And they work really well. Leaves are also very nutritious, uh, for the soil. They're great. They break down well. They're awesome. Um, you may not be able to get leaves where you are. Uh, there's a, but there is a lot of municipal municipal operations where you can go get either leaves or leaf compost or whatever, either free or cheap.

[00:17:03] So that's another thing. Um, another thing about leaves is that they usually don't have a lot of pesticides and stuff in them. If you're getting lawn clippings and grass clippings and stuff off of people's lawns, people do crazy stuff to their lawns, but leaves. You know, they fall in the fall, they fall in the fall of course.

[00:17:18] Um, and so generally people don't do a lot of crazy stuff with trees. Generally, leaves are pretty good, but again, make sure you do your due diligence and make sure that the, the materials you're bringing in are clean. Uh, other than leaves, you could use straw if that's readily available, especially, um, maybe you have some, or, you know, someone has some.

[00:17:35] Stuff they need to get rid of, or you can get it pretty cheap. Cardboard is also awesome. I know all of us have cardboard all the time because things are always getting delivered. So cardboard's a great, great carbon source. It's just not nearly as, um, complex and nutritious as, uh, as leaves are. But again, that could definitely work.

[00:17:50] Now, wood chips. So you guys know, I love wood chips. I use them all around the farm for mulching. Um, you can use wood chips in compost, but they take a really long time to break down, and you'll have to be very conscious about that because when you eventually get your finishing�finished compost, which we'll talk about a little bit later, you might have to screen that out so you can use wood chips, but I would use it very sparingly and same thing with sawdust.

[00:18:14] I'd be very� Uh, I wouldn't use a ton of it either for that reason that it just takes a long time to break down. So you can use that stuff if you don't have any other options, but it's not my favorite thing. Um, as I said, leaves are definitely my favorite. Uh, they break down quickly. They're easy to work with and everyone wants to get rid of 'em.

[00:18:30] So it's kind of a win-win for everybody. So I will talk more about the, uh, the inputs when we start building a pile. Let me jump in here real quick and take a minute to talk about our sponsor. Paper pot. As I mentioned at the beginning of this module and in every module, this entire course is sponsored by paper pot, co I literally could not do this without the help generosity and support of Diego and paper pot.

[00:18:49] Their commitment to the farming community is really unmatched. And you can definitely see this by the awesome tools, equipment, and supplies they have for sale over paper pot. They have great customer service and they are a reliable place to buy things from. I definitely recommend that you go check that out.

[00:19:01] In addition to that, they really support the farming community through education. Sponsoring stuff like this, but Diego puts out some great content too. Like his podcast, farm, small farm smart and care cash flow. He's also got some really cool videos on his YouTube channel about some really nerdy, composting trials and experiments.

[00:19:15] So you should definitely go check that out too. In addition to that, there are some extra resources for this course over at Now. Back to the module.

[00:19:27] Now, it's always good to inoculate your first compost pile with some good biology. And this could be, you could get this from a lot of different places. Once you get the system rolling, you can just use compost from a pile that's further along to inoculate your first pile, which I'll show you.

[00:19:41] But when you're first getting started, you could get some active compost from a friend and, and toss that in there, you could go out into the forest and grab some soil that you think is really healthy.

[00:19:51] You could even reach down into a pile of wood chips that you might have sitting around. Cuz I have always have piles of wood chips sitting around, and if you reach down deep enough, you'll see that there's it looks like soil. It's dark. It's rich. There's a lot of biology going on there. You could inoculate with that.

[00:20:03] So. Make sure you, uh, add some of that into your beds to get it going. And once you get it going, you'll have plenty to then bring back down and mix in with your first pile.

[00:20:16] Now that we have all the ideas about inputs and moisture and all that stuff, let me show you how I build a basic compost pile. And this is something we do constantly on the farm. Anytime I'm cropping on, we do content on the farm. Anytime cropping out, we just build it as we go. You could have an area.

[00:20:28] Store materials and then have someone else mix it later. You could teach everyone how to mix it themselves, depending on how many people are at your farm, whatever you feel comfortable with. But I have an empty bin here. We've already moved all the material up to the future bins, so we had room to start a new pile.

[00:20:41] I don't empty it completely. I always leave a little bit on the, on the ground because there's, as I said, that's sort of inoculation, compost and, and everything that's good is already in the ground here, worms, all that stuff. So we're gonna build a little bit on here. There's this, maybe a few inches left on the ground here.

[00:20:54] So. What I'm gonna start with is going to be�I have some squash plants over here that needed to come out. So I'm gonna get these in here.

[00:21:06] So, one thing I was saying before is the more that you break things down, the quicker they will break down, but these look�these are pretty good. Um, you know, some things like maybe the base base of kale, something like that might be, um, you know, you might have to break down a little bit more things that have thicker stems.

[00:21:26] But as I said, this is, uh, these, this breaks down pretty quickly. So's got a couple kale plants in here. The more you layer it, the better. So, um, you know, you don't, don't put like a whole thing of squash plants and then put a couple layers. Like the more you layer it, the better. If you have to throw in some fruit or some larger.

[00:21:44] As I said, if you break stuff down a little bit, it will help break down the process a little bit. So here's some, here's some extra squash. These are kind of big anyways, so I'm just breaking them open just so that they'll break down faster. So as I said, this is, this takes time. It's kind of stuff, but you know, the more time that you spend breaking down materials and all that stuff will help things happen faster.

[00:22:09] So it's just a matter of what your goals. So we'll throw a couple more in here, but as I said, just to show you that, you know, any of the crop residue that's coming off the farm, and then what I'll do, I'm not gonna any moisture to this because this obviously has a lot of moisture in it, in the fruit and the plants were just, just alive.

[00:22:30] So there's some water in there. Gonna add some leaves.

[00:22:44] So, as I said, I'm not going too thick with my layers.

[00:22:49] I'd rather have more layers. And then I have some somewhat finished compost that I got from bin number four. So I'm just gonna sprinkle some of this in there just to sort of inoculate this and get it going quicker. And I've just got a little bit of water, but not much because. Uh, this is a little bit moist.

[00:23:11] What I just added and also the plants and the fruit was pretty moist, too. So as I said, keep in mind of what the inputs are and how much moisture, but leaves were completely dry.

[00:23:30] So, as I said, that really didn't need very much. I would probably do a few more layers before I put this down. Um, but for the demonstration purposes, when the pile was done for the day, I'll put the plastic on it and. Keeps moisture, uh, in, and also rain out and helps warm it up a little bit too. Um, and sometimes keeps animals and stuff from getting there.

[00:23:52] But again, you can add food waste to this. Um, when you first build your piles, build 'em off as high as you can because they will break down, and it'll shrink pretty quickly. So again, this is just a, a quick way of building a pile. More layers are better. Just be careful about the moisture and make sure you get enough carbon in there and things will break down. And, and actually heat up pretty quickly.

[00:24:14] So this is the last bin in the line, and this is basically finished compost, but you know, what I wanna show you here is kind of where we're at. I don't remember the timing on this. We've made a lot of compost here. I've also pulled quite a bit outta here. So I don't remember how long this has been here for, but as I said, my process is, is a slow composting process.

[00:24:30] So it doesn't really matter when it's done. If it sits here a little bit longer, there'll be more warm action in it. And, uh, it'll just break down a little bit more. So let me show you, what's going on here. First of all, you can see that the color's nice. It looks really rich, but there's also quite a bit of like chunkiness in it.

[00:24:45] There's like sticks and stuff, which is actually totally fine. But what, what I wanna point out here is that you get this nice rich soil, and this is what we're after. There's a lot of diversity. This is fantastic. So this is what we made on, on the farm here. But depending on what you need, you might have to do some stuff with this compost.

[00:25:05] So depending on how you're gonna be using this compost will determine if you need to do anything else to finish the compost. So if you are putting this in beds where you're gonna be direct seeding, or maybe you're using this as a potting mix or part of a potting mix, and you want a much finer consistency, then you might have to do some more work to it.

[00:25:21] If this is going out into garden beds that you're transplanting into, you might be able to just use this and, and it would be fine. Um, or maybe just take out some of the bigger pieces. It really depends on what you need. So if you, as I said, want a finer mix, what you can do, or if you're, again, maybe a little bit, um, anxious to get some of the material out, you can screen it.

[00:25:39] And there's a few ways to do this. One is just using a basic hand screener, which you could build out of like a frame with a chicken wire or hardware cloth. And you can just put over wheelbarrow and push the compost over. Maybe you've done that for potting mix before. If you tried to, you know, get some of the chunky bits out, if you've gotten some chunkier potting, That's an option.

[00:25:56] Another great way is to use a trommel. And so I made a whole video about this, uh, with gene over at, uh, Raleigh city farm, he's got a great system. That's a. Um, a cement mixer where the garbage can and a screen in it. And it works really, really well. And I will leave that late video link down below for your checkout as well.

[00:26:15] If you want all the details, it's something that is not necessary. But again, as if you're looking for a certain kind of compost size, That's probably the quickest way to do it. And it's pretty cheap and, and easy to do. So, as I said before, if you are trying to get material out of here a little bit earlier, you can just screen it and then take all the bits that you get out, all the Woody bits, and then throw those back in an earlier bin.

[00:26:36] And that will inoculate those bins and keep breaking down and keep the cycle going. So again, there's a lot of options out there. Uh, the reason you screen it is just cuz of what you're trying to get. Now, if you're trying to go after like what commercial compost usually is. You're gonna have to screen it or use a trommel.

[00:26:50] They have large sifting, um, machines and screens, and they that's how you get the, the compost, the certain size. But as I said, this looks awesome. This is fantastic. This is very rich. And this is kind of what we're going for.

[00:27:04] Another application for this is trying to extract some of the biology so you can make teas and slurries and stuff like that out of the compost, and then apply that to your beds or as a foliar spray. So again, that's beyond the scope of this video, but there's a lot of uses for the compost. But for me personally, the biggest thing, as I said before was just as waste management. So all the stuff on the farm is turning into soil that we can use. For lots of different things.

[00:27:30] I wanna say a couple things about temperature. So we do have a long, um, thermometer that we stick in the piles every once in a while to check them mainly outta curiosity. As I said, this is a long term composting situation. I'm not trying to rush this. I'm not trying to put a lot of time and labor and energy into managing.

[00:27:47] If you are trying to get things done quicker, as I said, there'll be more inputs in terms of time and labor and energy. And those sorts of things. One thing about temperature though, is if you are using the compost in a certified organic situation, then you'll need to be able to get the pile hot enough and document it and record it and be able to show that that happens.

[00:28:05] So you need to get the pile. Between 131 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit for three days. So keep that in mind for certified organic. Remember there'll be live Q and a for the next few sessions. There'll be every Monday at 3:00 PM Eastern and the next module module 18 will be all about the wash pack station.

[00:28:25] Diego Footer: There you have it. Farmer Josh satin on composting. That was module 17 of the Satan hill farm course. If you enjoyed this presentation and wanna learn more about the other presentations view resources related to those presentations, visit paper,, which is also linked to below. Thanks for listening until next time.

[00:28:48] Be nice. Be thankful and do the work.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *