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Compost systems and kids involvement

Here is an effective and efficient composting system you might want to

Three major problems often occur with ground based composting systems:

1. Too wet and not enough air inside the pile
2. Too dry on the surface (especially in the summer)
3. It attracts rodents

Instead of bins use horizontal rotating barrels for the composting. Through
rotation the compost always gets enough fresh air, within the massive
barrel (made of wood, that doesn't decompose itself for a very long time)
however it doesn't dry out and there is no way rodents or decomposing
pitbulls get inside. Instead of fencing the whole thing in all you have to
do is lock the flap of the barrel.

In the summer the compost will be finished within 6 or 8 weeks. Because of
this efficiency you will need much less space for the system.
Two barrels of 1 m capacity will be sufficient for most community gardens.
If you imagine turning of the barrels is a hard job, think of what you can
do with a simple transmission system - check out your local bike shop for
appropriate items. An advanced system can be supplied with a washing machine
motor run by solar energy or a small wind power plant. No more shovelling
around piles of half-decomposed compost needed with this and no massive
concrete basement

If you want to take a look at a working system check the following website:

Klick on "Abfall" then on "Kompostierung" The description is in German, but
you will get a visual idea of the system, which really works

You may consider promoting rodent husbandry for a different reason:

Rabbits and guinea pigs are attractive for children and they eat some of the
leftovers of the garden which further decreases your compost pile. A rabbit
and guinea pig building on a ground area of 20m can host up to 40 animals
on two levels and also some kids in case it is raining outside. Add accesses
to some enclosures, which can be closed at night and you will find a lot of
kids busy petting animals instead of running through your gardens and
ripping out plants.

A site for construction of (tree)houses and tents might inspire some
youngsters to use hammers and tools and engage in constructive play instead
of vandalizung. Including children and young people and giving them a sense
of having achieved something will support pride and identification with the

Most ordinary playgrounds are just for running and climbing which can be
pretty dull and also excludes children with certain disabilities. Also most
children do prefer contacts with different age groups instead of being
pushed aside into a children's ghetto. Excluding children from community
gardens is not contributing to sustainability. Think of ways to include
them, After some time you might convince local authorities that investing
money in play work schemes on your site would be more reasonable than in
prisons or traditional forms of crime and drug prevention.


Oliver Ginsberg
BdJA educational consultant
Admiralstrasse 16
10999 Berlin
fon: ++49-30-614 02 172  fax: -614 02 173
e-mail: ginsberg@blinx.de

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