How to Home Compost: A Compost Recipe

[music] Mark: My name is Mark Hutchinson, and I’m
a extension educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. I work out of
Knox and Lincoln County. So, a lot of times when I’m talking to a home
composter about composting, I relate it to actually baking a cake. Knowing what ingredients
that it is you need, getting them all together, knowing how much of that ingredient you need,
then actually the blending process and mixing in the bowl is what you’re actually doing
by turning your piles. And then, actually cooking the pile. How long does it take to cook, and knowing
that in your cake, and also with the compost, you can make compost in as short as four months.
But, most homeowners are more like, 18 months or a year. They’re not in a hurry to get that
finished compost. And then, the last part of it is actually letting those cookies cool,
or the cake cool. That’s called the curing stage in composting. And then, the finished
product at the end. What I have here are two buckets of finished
compost. This is a compost that I actually made at my own home. So, it’s been going for
about 18 months, and you can see it’s a nice fine material, but it’s got a lot of rough
particles in it. So, what I like to do in my home composting before I use it is actually
to strain it. What I’ve done is, I’ve actually built a screen
with quarter-inch hardware cloth with just a simple wood frame that fits over my wheelbarrow,
and what I do is, I take the finished compost and I actually pour it on the screen. [sound of pouring] And then, I shake the screen gently. All the
fine particles come down through, and what you’re left with is all the hard particles–these
are actually roots from things that have grown in the pile–and all the bigger particles.
What I do with this is, I would actually throw it back into my compost pile and recycle it,
which is a good way to inoculate the new piles or to add those microorganisms. What your end product is, is this nice fine
material, very consistent in the particle size, that would work really nicely in your
gardens as a soil amendment. So, this is a really great way. You’re going
to start with a large volume of material, and by the end, it’s going to reduce in volume
by about 50 percent. So, you’re not going to get a lot of material out of that cubic
yard, but you’re going to get enough manure to support your small vegetable garden or
a perennial garden. But it’s also a great way, remember, to recycle your organic materials,
and reduce the material going into the landfills. [music] [cuts off]

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