This photo illustrates several elements of the Pile Pro Composting Factory:
Concrete Slab – Having once supported a hot tub and deck, its suitability as a composting venue was a slow, accidental discovery. But when you think about it, composting is a production process, and just about every production process on earth takes place on a hard surface. The slab reflects one of the relevant compost <–> cooking analogies: Your kitchen flooring can be a hard surface or it can be dirt – take your pick. What about the inability of earthworms to migrate from below ground into the pike you ask…good question! Well, I once read somewhere (wish I could remember where…) that lacking teeth, earthworms are not very effective in a compost pile. Plenty of insects and other invertebrates find their way into the pile, and they along with bacteria and other micro-organims do a fine job of decomposing the organic matter. Additionally, the slab serves as an excellent place at harvest time – the material in the foreground is drying in preparation for sifting. Not long before the photo was taken, it was in a compost bin.
Compost Bins – My bin of choice is a modified Presto Hoop Companion (superseded by the Geobin www.geobin123.com). The modification is simply a reduction from the oft-touted 3′ dimension to a more sensible 2′ diameter. The height is 30″ which translates to 8 cubic feet. While the conventional wisdom prescribes 27 cubic feet as a minimum, I believe that those who parrot that number spend more time copying someone else’s opinion rather than doing their own composting. Eight cubic feet is a lot of material, plenty for a batch. While that size is my present standard, I plan to demonstrate that even smaller piles produce excellent results. Note that the bins are sitting on breathing platforms (OK, they are really bread racks that I picked out of the trash…they have since been superseded and since nobody from the 800 number returned my call, alas I had no choice but to send them to the landfill) that allow air
Bucket In Bucket Ideal Watering System – This method is a Pile Pro original; I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere. A description is in the Watering post and also at www.compost-bin.com.
Leaning Sifter of Pisa – Composting sources are dominated by two sifter styles: a horizontal style that gets shaken back and forth over a receptacle, and a trommel. The former is too much work and the latter is too complex. The inclined type is an excellent compromise.
Industrial Sized Dustpan – Used for scooping dried material from the slab and loading it onto the sifter.