Since the last blog entry, which was about garden work, i mentioned the difficulties that we are currently facing with this complex project, so, naturally, we spent a big part of the morning continuing the progress that we made, to try to restore it back into a functional compost, being the next step changing it from one place to the other. Now, after observing and analyzing (which are important steps in permaculture designing), we believe that the main problem was related to the large amount of ashes that accumulated there during time, specially because we use the fire to heat up the house and, naturally, it became a bit overflooded - normally, ashes should only be 5% of the organic matter that we put in the outdoor compost, so we deduced that this was one of the main problems, along with the fact that it didn’t have enough water and oxygen, essential parts of a healthy composting system.
That being said, after spending some time working on it, I could have sworn that yesterday was World Compost day with all the amazing things we learnt about vermicompost and indoor composting during the afternoon with Tunde. I first met her one year and a half ago, when I participated in a Youth Exchange with Szatyor about Sustainable Living and I had the pleasure of making a joint workshop about soap making with her. I have always been fascinated about the richness of soil and the importance of composting our organic matter and I couldn’t have been happier to learn even more with Tunde.
In the past, the ESC volunteers started an indoor compost, as well as a vermicompost, but with time, it was a forgotten task, so I was excited to learn everything I could to continue exploring different types of composting. I had some basics already but I would like to share some curiosities and fun facts that stroke me the most with you:
- I was astonished when i discovered that 55% of organic waste comes from households and not from restaurants, schools or supermarkets;
- When you compost, you are creating life with trash, only for it to be the natural process of life while closing a cycle;
- Your compost should always be moist, like a dishwashing sponge, this way you guarantee that you have enough water at all times;
- Worms don’t like citric fruits and it is not advised to put non-bio in the compost, since it has a high quantity of pesticides that are toxic for our little friends and for us, specially if we use the compost in our garden;
- Eggshells, when crushed to the maximum, are perfect to use as natural fertilizers in tomato plants, since they are prone to have calcium deficiency and these are packed with it;
- Hamster, rabbit and even guinea pig poop are perfect to use in compost, although cat and dog are not advised (toxins);
- Hair, nails and hard seeds (from peach or even cherries) take up to two years to decompose and they are compostable!
- Worms are amazing! They are blind, reproduce themselves easily (they don’t overpopulate, they always take into consideration the space available and the food they receive), don’t have teeth, so they engage with other microorganisms found in the compost that take care of the softening of the food so they can digest it and they run away from the compost when they don’t like their new hotel and/or you put something toxic in it. Additionally, they can eat up to half of their body mass, which is quite impressive and fascinating!
- The worms’ eggs can survive up to two years, so even if your vermicompost is not working, after some time, you start feeding it again, you have a good chance of regenerating it :)
I could talk about compost forever and about all the amazing things that Tunde taught us but I will leave it for another blogpost, as well as an update about our three forms of composting, without counting the chickens.
Take care xx
P.S: You can find attached some photos of a drawing I did about all the different types of bugs and insects you can find in the compost, enjoy!