Harvesting / Collecting Compost.

by Jim
(Missouri USA)

Two Bin Compost System

Two Bin Compost System

A gardener I know has two compost bins made of skids on three sides with one side open.

Both sit on bare ground.

I see how easy it is to turn the compost, but when the final mature compost is needed, how can a person extract the humus conveniently? I wonder how much sifting that style would take. Any clues?

Harvesting and Using Compost

Often people use a three bin system similar to the two bin system you describe. The first bin is where a fresh compost pile is made from collected materials.

After a few weeks when the compost has cooked down and is starting to cool it is turned into the middle bin. At this time you turn it so that the material that was on the outside of the pile ends up in the middle and the middle stuff on the outside.

When the center heap cools it is turned into the last bin where it sits until it is ready to use. Then it is shoveled into wheelbarrows and taken to the garden beds.

With a two bin system, if the compost is fairly well broken down go ahead and use it. Shovel it into a wheelbarrow or onto a tarp and take it where ever you want it.

To Sift or Not to Sift

It used to be most people sifted their compost. Sifting breaks up all those fungal strands. Fungi is so beneficial to your garden it is far better to use the compost with the lumps and clumps than to sift it. That way you preserve the fungi and they'll get to work making your garden grow.

If you have too many clumps that are not decomposed just add them back to the first bin.

Outdoor Sir Indore Pit composting idea
by: Jim from Missouri

The link to pit composting made me think how it could be useful here and now. It looks more labor intensive than machinery-dependent. I use tarps to drag and roll small amounts of material that's too fine to move with a pitchfork. If the USDA could help the Dept of Justice, healthy, non-polluting jobs for prisoners could be arranged.

Composting might be therapeutic for inmates too.

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