Session 5, Part B: GROW BIOINTENSIVE: A Beginner’s Guide — Composting

[Music] it’s important to build the pile inside a well-defined square or rectangle if we merely build in a regular mound of compost heat and pressure are uneven across the pile it’s less efficient and yields less compost Tim places the first layer of dry compost material on top of the freshly watered roughage foundation notice how Tim keeps the wheat straw aligned as he adds it to this first layer in subsequent layers he will rotate the alignment of the dry material for better insulation after tim finishes evening out this first layer of dry material he thoroughly wet sit down [Music] it’s amazing how much water this really needs so you got a really soak it [Music] now we’re ready for our next layer immature green alfalfa is used to build a next layer as Tim spreads the alfalfa on top of the wheat straw he tries to keep this green layer about the same thickness as the layer of dry material beneath it all of the alfalfa seems to pile much higher as Tim added it will be compacted to the right thickness as the pile grows remember got a water between each layer even if it’s green you might think that because this is green material but it’s got enough moisture of water in it but we’ve learned that you really need the water between each layer give it a nice good soak no matter what that material is we’re now ready for our soil oh yeah again this has come from our double dog bed you’re gonna take this and we’re gonna add it to the compost pile and this serves many many functions to the overall health of the pile one of the things this soil does is help to accelerate the pile this song up it helps to build a sponge cake layer over the whole compost pile that actually contain microbes that overall will help with the decomposition of your pile you’ll sprinkle about a half bucket of the double duck soil over each green layer and yes you’ll water again after adding the soil once again we’re gonna water the whole pile step-by-step tim repeats the process to build up the pile another layer of dry material this time aligned at right angles to the previous dry layer this is like your perfect who’s your perfect materials another soaking more green material and more water more soil if you’ve included any kitchen ways to a green layer this soil will help keep down the Flies and odors as we continue here we’re going to be using the same steps as we’ve just demonstrated to build a pile up to keep the mass of the pile evenly distributed as it grows and height Tim advises us to work the edges with a spading fork from time to time after we’ve put on a few layers the pile tends to build up in the middle mound up in the middle which is not going to help us in the long run so what we want to do is take this spading fork on the edges and just leverage the pile out flatten it out so the reason that we want to level this out is that if it builds up in the middle it does not decompose as well and if we have it evenly spaced out the decomposition is going to be even all the way through [Music] we’re gonna do this every three or four layers to even out the file as the pile grows he mixes in different crops here he uses five uh plants as his green layer and you can add kitchen scraps to the green layer as well so these piles take about two to three months before they’re ready in the summer and about four to six months in the winter before they’re ready for usable compost even when the weather’s cooler and decomposition is slower you can start a compost pile any time you have the materials for the final layer we’ve got a full bucket of dirt you’re gonna give a nice cap of soil the whole top of this pile that we have now raised to well over three feet beautiful we are done with this compost pile got the layers on everything looks good oh yeah this is where the magic occurs aerobic process sunlight moisture all the good stuff happening right inside there make sure to water the pile every day after about three to four weeks of decomposing from the inside out the compost pile now needs to be turned outside in we’re gonna start by pulling the stakes out [Music] all right so the interior of the compost pile is going to be more decomposed than it is in the outer edges so that’s why we’re going to turn this pile and as we do so we’re going to make sure that the outside materials go to the inside and the inside materials become the outside of the pile using their stating Forks timid Lisa move the materials from the original pile to the new pile making sure to move the less decomposed material to the inside of the pile we can see there are some materials that are decomposing and some that are still dry and these are the ones that should need to go inside the pile you’ll need to water the pile as you turn it to make sure it’s evenly moist the freshly turned pile is now much darker and appearance and don’t forget you need to water it every day we’ve come full-circle through our original compost pile we’d like to see if it’s done and if the materials have composted well Tim pulls away thin layer of um decomposed straw to find rich moist compost inside the pile the transformation is complete mmm smells good that’s one of the ways that I know this compost is done another way to tell is that I can’t recognize any of the original materials when your compost is properly cured it should feel moist and crumbly in your hand at this stage you need to stop watering and that the pile dry out so can be sifted and stored as part of the next step Tim shows us how so once the compost is dry we bring it over to our sifter you see if that wheel barrel is ready in case we want to transport this we have a large screen very simple we’ll put the compost in we’ll sift it through any material that we still have on top we’ll take away and use for our next pile the compost that falls below is ready to be stored the special sifting apparatus Tim is using here is perfect for the task [Applause] but if all you have is a simple screen you can still sift the compost directly into a wheelbarrow or a buckets but if you have the materials time and inclination a device like this can increase your productivity we’ve sifted our compost it looks good and now we’re gonna store it easy way to do this it’s gentle on the back take a five-gallon bucket take a small scoop let’s go right into our storage bin if you’re not going to use it right away keep the sifted compost dry in a simple shelter out of direct sunlight we have learned that the keys to building a successful compost pile include using a variety of organic materials well distributed throughout the pile keeping the pile well ventilated so air can reach the interior and keeping the pile moist so get going composting can be fun and your garden will reward you for your efforts

16 thoughts on “Session 5, Part B: GROW BIOINTENSIVE: A Beginner’s Guide — Composting

  1. I have question. At 5:44 i saw a tables, but from what material they were made? I built some from paper and i laminated them but rain brokes all. Are you using a wax crayons? How were you made holder? I plant vegetables and i grow trees, bushes and egzotical plants. Sorry for my language, but im from Poland.

  2. Do you mean the signs with the writing on them? How about using an old "white board" with magic marker? Old scraps of formica counter top material might work well, too.

  3. -True, round has more area than square;
    -The compost pile in the video wasted a lot of water(especially soaking the straw stage), better if the dry material was soaked in the plastic bag with gray or waste water prior adding;
    -Compost pile is not a big science anymore. In fact it is harder to maintain, haul and sift than to build "hugecultur" or lasagna style bed in fall and allow free winter moisture and built-up microbes, wormes and fungi to do all the hard work years to come.

  4. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this tutorial making composting sound more complicated than it really is? My understanding of composting is that you maintain the optimal conditions for microbial activity to facilitate decomposition. In other words dark, warm, wet and well aerated.

  5. Shredding the materials with a shredder or a lawmower makes it compost much faster.  Also covering the pile loosely with a tarp speeds up things too.  

  6. Here's the second part of Session Five, covering building the pile, turning the pile to aerate it, sifting the finished compost, and storing the compost for later use.  
    Enjoy! ♥
    Session 5, Part B: GROW BIOINTENSIVE: A Beginner's Guide — Composting

  7. this looks like a lot of work. with a full time job I think I'll stick to my compost ball and let it do all the work. however I do like the demonstration of dry and green ingredients and adding water to keep it moist.

  8. So, instead of just chopping stuff and leaving it on the ground (or not chopping at all), you suggest that the best thing is to take all of that potential fertility and pile it up in one place and water it every day and then hide it in a place with all the other fertility you can until you decide to return it somewhere? That seems like a lot of effort to remove some fertility from your system and move it around. Usually, the soil in an area needs the things that the plants in that area took from the soil.

  9. I love this series, and I sincerely appreciate you publishing it! However, I have got to say, I was deeply disappointed with you composting procedure and the quality of the compost that you are producing. I mean no offense, but composting is kinda "my thing" and my compost makes your compost look just plain old sad. I believe, that the one of the biggest differences is that I use manure in mine, but even my no-manure piles seem much more dense and crumbly, with a MUCH darker color than you own.
    Again, I REALLY enjoy your series and have learned things from it I will take with me, but I think there is some real room for improvement in your composting.
    Happy Growing!

  10. In Fiji my compost heap went thru in a couple of weeks, watered everyday or it ashed, and turned every few days. I got green jelly out of parts of it and fantastic growth in my garden. Same in Sydney, well done, green jelly as well as more structured material.

  11. They are trying to find too much magic and science in composting. No reason to think about "what i will use next time". Just keep layers of same material thin. If u have too much of fresh material, start turning compost and mix it (thin layers). If u do this right, center of compost pile will get incredibly hot. Thats all, folks 😉

  12. I have the book, How to grow more vegetables*, and came here for the video as it helps to digest the info in the book. I can see many comments about how complicated this method is and stuff. If you read the book and science behind this method of composting you won’t be so sceptical. Yes, it does take more time to put together, and may seem more labor intensive but it actually is not. You only turn the pile once. You don’t chip anything. And yes you have to wait for it to be ready. This type of compost may be slow in releasing nutrients but it does so for a longer period of time. This way you build fertility in your soil being sustainable at the same time.

  13. Your ratio off green material to brown material is a bit off balance leaving you with way too much dry woody material. If you stack larger piles of green nitrogen garden and kitchen scraps, varied smaller woody material (depending on the density), and nitrogen rich manure it'll heat your compost pile up much much hotter and break down the wood more efficiently. It also reduces the amount of water needed for that perfect humidity you want throughout your compost pile. After a few months my compost piles break down to dark brown to black humus filled with worms with decent amounts of finely shredded wood. This has been the best recipe for me

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