For those of you who’ve come late to the party here is part 1
After building the self aerated composting bin the next stage was to fill it with organic matter.
I chopped up a whole heap of dry sugar cane mulch, leaves, horse manure and began to fill the bin to the top pausing every 15-20cm to give each layer a soaking with the hose.
When placing the material in there do not compact it. You want there to be small passages of air to allow the aerobic process to occur. The wetting process will make the material heavy and compact it to some extent. If you are putting small sticks or woody material, place the layers at various angles to each other to give more opportunities for air pockets to be created.
Given my one person household doesn’t turn over much in the way of compostable food waste, I had a chat with the owner of a local cafe and asked if I could get her food scraps and coffee grounds. She was happy to oblige so I bought a brand new black garbage bin and tied a laminated note to it specifying that it was for composting materials only and my contact details. So twice a week I get a phone call saying my compost is ready and I duck down to the cafe and grab my bin. I can’t believe how excited I am to be picking up someone else’s garbage!
I try to make things efficient and most of all, easy for the cafe. I pick the compost up, chop it up in my yard which gives me a chance to also sift through and pick out any plastic and metal which may have inadvertently ended up in the bin. I then transfer it either to my bokashi wheelie bin or into my pallet composting bins. The black garbage bin then gets washed and returned immediately to the cafe so it’s ready when they do their next bin changeover.
That’s 120L/week of food waste that doesn’t take up space in their 240L roadside council wheelie bin and instead of going to landfill it is providing me with a much needed soil improver and plant fertiliser. The best part is they have a lot of coffee grounds which as you know is an excellent source of nitrogen.
So two weeks after the bin was started I added the first lot of cafe compost.
Chopping up the material like I do in the video ensures a much quicker breakdown of the food. The last thing you want is whole fruits and vegetables partially rotted. Yes it’s a bit of work but the way I do it with the shovel is really quite easy given that food waste is usually soft and mushy on it’s own. I only added one more lot of cafe compost as the composting bin was pretty much filled. I also didn’t want too much fresh material diluting my results on this experiment.