The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Covering up the winter compost pile

Stockpiling compost

Summer 2014 was too wet to allow us to haul in horse manure for 2015, so we spent most of this year using homegrown fertility sources instead. Good thing we got goats! I used manurey bedding nearly as quickly as our animals made it all season, but now I'm starting to bank compost piles for next year.

The photo above shows the result of three goat-shed cleanings. On the right, I forked two cleanings-worth into one small pile after the bedding had been rained on a few times, then I covered the composting organic matter with plastic to prevent nitrogen leaching away during winter rains. The new pile to the left is this week's addition, which will be treated the same way once the straw hydrates and begins to rot.

Between goat and chicken bedding and garden weeds, I've now got three little compost nooks spread around our core homestead. Hopefully by the time spring rolls around, we'll have enough well-composted organic matter to make 2016 a better garden year!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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When u buy straw for grades cover, what type do u ask for?? All of the hay I've seen is filled with seeds!
Comment by Zane Sat Oct 10 12:34:25 2015

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