Is my compost ready…now what?
It has been the required number of days (roughly 6 weeks) since I left the initial side of the tumbler to do its job. Yay!!! I am so excited and I have been eager to feed my garden with all my cooking. My vegetable peels, banana skin and egg shells are no longer visible. Mother Nature is miraculous. I am floored by this phenomenon but grounded by the solid habits we have formed over the last few months.
I researched that an easy way to find out if your compost is ready is by performing the sniff test. I must admit I do have a good nose on me…have always been able to spot where exactly our puppy has been in our garden, if a recipe needs more seasoning and what perfume you have chosen to wear. So whilst a seemingly informal process I am confident I will know by the smell of the compost heap if it is ready.
Basically what is required from the sniff test is to pop some of your compost into a snap lock bag and seal it. Wait a week and then take a whiff. It should have a pleasant, earthy, soil-like smell. If it smells foul or rotten or a bit like ammonia the compost is not completely finished and will need to be returned to the tumbler to continue harvesting for another week or two.
I put some of the compost into a bag and waited 7 days (Ok I cheated and took a whiff at 5 days…patience has never been my thing!!) And to my surprise it smelt great. And what I mean by great is that I half expected to be repelled by the smell but it actually barely had a scent at all. It was rather soil-like and even quite fresh. YAY!!! So excited!!!!!!!! That was a clear enough signal to me that it was ready.
So the day I have been waiting for. I geared up with some old jeans, boots and gardening gloves and found an old 30 litre flexi tub. I placed it directly underneath the tumbler (on the harvested side) and rolled the tumbler until the door faced the flexi tub. As I slid open the side of the door that was ready, some of it instantly fell out in a clump. The rest was probably a bit moist and needed some help. I rocked it a bit and then used a little trowel to shovel it out. This filled roughly two of these tubs.
I took my bucket and dug this rich nutrient dense compost into our raised herb garden bed. Two buckets was more than enough and I had extra that I dispersed amongst the rest of our garden. I cannot believe how good it feels…on so many levels. Click here to read my research as to why we should all be composting at home.
Would love to hear how you are traveling with your composting at home, any questions or thoughts about it please feel free to write to me.