Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Sawdust Toilet comes Full Circle

Well, I guess I'd have to grow food in the compost and eat it and then it would be full circle.  But until later this spring when that comes to pass, the news is for now.  The bin has been sitting for a week short of a year, and I had some time today so I decided to break into it and see what was in there.  

 This first picture was what I saw when I first took the pallet off.

 Closer view here.  The grassy stuff is compost, grass, paper etc. that I put on top of the pile as it condensed.  No point in wasting good composting space.

Then I started to dig out a section to see what I was getting into.

Here you can see a good cross section of the pile.  There are four distinct layers.  The top layer is uncomposted organic material.  The next layer is composted bathroom waste.  The black layer is a layer of leaves that I put on the pile between the times the pile was in use because for a few months, I ran out of sawdust.  The red/brown layer on the bottom is the oldest of the bathroom waste compost.

Here it is in the wheel barrow.  There are some spots you can see with uncomposted material, that is pieces of plastic from various sources, cardboard tape, shredded envelope windows and the like.  It should photo-degrade pretty quickly when it gets exposed to the sun.

Finally, here is a sample in my hand.  I did have the thought "This is poo in my hand" but then I realized "No it isn't, it's compost, it's not poo any more."  The consistency shown is that of worm castings, if you click on the picture, you can see a much larger view.

The biggest thing I noticed was that I expected the compost to be much darker.  I think that my be due to the fact that in this pile, I did not use rotted sawdust, but fresh stuff from a cabinet shop.  Therefore, it may be more powerful when finally composted in comparison to the nitrogen rich materials.  Other than that, I can't wait to get this stuff on the garden and see some results.  My corn has been poor here, I hope to change that.  If you have any questions or comments at all, please leave a comment, even if you wish to do so anonymously.  I read every comment and answer nearly every one.

I spread the first wheelbarrow full on the strawberries.

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