I’ve composted for years and had the rhythm down pat: Save scraps, hike outside to the compost, dump scraps, wait for the compost to break down, then haul the compost to where I needed it in the garden or yard. It worked, but in the past year or so, I’ve decided to compost smarter.
My composter is a round, two part plastic job that I got for $10 by attending a compost class put on by the county. In fact, I think this composter is the exact model that I have (albeit more expensive). It has two rings that stack, one on top of the other. It occurred to me some time back that if I used each ring individually, I could have two compost piles: one that we’re actively adding scraps to and another that’s full and in the process of breaking down. An unexpected bonus of this method is that my chickens will actually jump up into the compost bin and work it for me, as I guest posted about on The Frugal Kiwi.
So, chickens working the compost for me, two bins going at once; how much more efficient could my composting become?, you ask. Lots more. The last time I had an empty ring, I decided to set it up right where I needed compost. We filled it and let it sit for a couple of months to break down, without adding any new material. Today, I pulled the ring and called in the hens. As the chickens scratched at the compost, I sorted out any of the bigger bits that still needed more time to break down, but instead of hauling the compost off to another location, I just left it right there. The chickens did a beautiful job of spreading it around the base of my lychee tree, requiring very little effort on my part.
I still need to get out there and pick up some of the bigger pieces they unearthed, but you can see how rich and dark brown the compost is. My lychee is going to love it!
I’m going to start implementing this method by moving one composter around the garden and another to sit alongside various fruit trees, I think.