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Jun 2016

How to compost at home – Step 4

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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