Jason Schmidt

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since Sep 10, 2020
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Recent posts by Jason Schmidt

Here's a follow-up photo. The "freshest" pile that I'm adding to is in the foreground. The farthest pile is ready to use. I'm about to get a new load of leaves and grass clippings to form a new fresh pile. Please use the wheelbarrow for scale.
2 months ago
I prefer open piles for the quality of the compost and simplicity of the setup.

I have used plastic bins, bays made of pallets, and cages made of wire all based on what I have seen from many different publications. In my most recent move two years ago I settled on open piles. I like that I can turn my compost from all sides. I can shift piles over when I am ready to age them. I don’t have dry spots where fire ants can nest or weedy spots that I cannot reach. I can lay my sifter down next to a pile to sift out big bits for my seedlings. The easy access allows me to turn frequently. This has been the best compost I have ever made.

I combine fresh grass clippings from my neighbors with aged leaves to make a long pile. Then I add kitchen scraps and yard trimmings every day until the pile is just the right size. If we don’t get rain, I keep the top moist. If the pile gets too large, I get exhausted moving it, so I have developed a sense of size based on my energy and strength.

I turn the large-enough pile to the right a bit and start a new pile just like before. I continue the process only adding to the fresh pile always shifting over the aging piles. The oldest piles, if unused, are combined farthest to the right. The freshest pile is to the left. To clarify, I only add new scraps to the freshest pile until it is a manageable size . As I shift and turn each pile to the right, I will shift any large uncomposted materials back into the
fresher piles to the left.

As others have posted, I like the idea of composting directly in your growing beds if that is an option for you. Your growing beds will benefit from nutrients leaching out of you pile though I do wonder about salt accumulation. I do not have enough growing space to try that in my suburban property.

I will try to post a picture, but it never does justice to the cycle and compost quality.

For reference, I am in zone 7. Compost makes fast here in the summer and slows down but does not stop in the winter. So I keep the process rolling all winter, but without grass clippings I can afford to add more table scraps for longer before I shift my piles rightward.

2 months ago