Progress of the Acre

200 lbs of compost...
4 sq.ft. of the acre sponsored...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kamikaze Composting in the winter.

I am very happy with the way that things are going now but I have to admit that I am a bit impatient and more than a little excited for spring.  Note that we have just barely entered the cold of the Christmas season and it is not even winter yet. 
A lot of people think of the winter as a time of dormancy, when it is just to cold for anyone to go outside, let alone do any type of gardening.  This is somewhat true, but it is also a time of opportunity and preparation.  We have been doing some rather aggressive composting.  What does this mean?
There are, we are learning, two main types of composting: Active and Passive.  The names are pretty self-explanatory.  With passive composting, what you are really doing is just setting things in a pile and turning it when you get around to it, or as needed.  Nature will do its thing eventually, add scraps whenever you can and turn it whenever or so in 12 months or so you will have a great bit of compost.
That simply isn't our style!   Over the course of the past two weeks we have intermittently culled about 150 pounds of coffee grounds from Starbucks.  These are high in nitrogen.  This is great for the compost, especially now because it adds heat to the compost by drawing helpful microbes and insects to the pile.  It was about 25 degrees outside last night, the pile was about 54 degrees and getting warmer everyday. We would be happy with about 150 degrees.
If you think about the nearly 30 starbucks in the Atlanta area and the amount of other coffee shops there are out there, our 150 pounds means that on a daily basis, there are probably tons of usable matter getting wrapped up in plastic and buried in landfills.
Until now, it has been a pretty passive pile, but the bigger it gets, the harder we want to work at it.  We are adding things to it daily and at the same time, gaining friends as we go around getting mass.  We are looking for a lot of restaurant kitchen scraps and that means waiting until they close, and that means FREEZING temps right about now!  It will be worth it in the end.
The goal is to not be dormant, but just to be doing other things in preparation for what is to come.

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