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Philip Glass composting/is ACGA virtual?

  • Subject: [cg] Philip Glass composting/is ACGA virtual?
  • From: Don Boekelheide dboekelheide@yahoo.com
  • Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2003 20:36:52 -0800 (PST)

Hi, all,

Better late than never, but thought I'd add my 2 cents
worth on composting technique in response to Tori's
question. And then I have a question about ACGA.
> Hello-
> Does anyone have any plans or know of plans to build
> compost bins?
> Thanks,
> Tori

Oh, yeah. To read our local blurb (Charlotte, NC), go

For a good overview and lots of connections, go to
www.mastercomposter.com. Great 'nexus' site with lots
of links.

My favorite technical composting sites remain Cornell

and www.soilfoodweb.com, Dr. Elaine Ingham's site

As I think everyone already said, Tori, an optimal
composting system depends on where you are and what
you want to compost - though the basic principles are
going to be the same (composting is farming with
microbes, the kind you want for garden composting need
water, air, shelter and good 'feed' containing both an
energy source and a protein source ('serious'
composters call this 'carbon' and 'nitrogen')in the
right balance. See those webpages for details, or
check out Brooklyn Botanical Garden's 'Easy Compost'
or 'Let It Rot' or any good compost book. 

If the 'feed' is mostly garden stuff (weeds, plants
that have finished producing, etc), you don't need to
construct _anything_. Minimalism works fine (in that
vein, I liked Glass' score for The Hours. Intense
flic. There is a lovely glimpse of an English garden
about 2/3 of the way through, gives you a minute to
catch your breath).

Anyway, you can compost perfectly well in a pile. A
good workable size is a meter cube, a pile one meter
(or yard) high, wide and long. If you get more stuff,
you can make the pile longer (so it becomes a
'windrow'). If it is much smaller, it won't hold in
enough heat, much bigger and the middle doesn't get
enough air.

If there is some kind of yard or farm waste readily
available for free where you are (here it's autumn
leaves), certainly integrate them into your community
garden composting operation.

In our classes, we use 2"x4" welded wire fencing 3'
tall (that's 5 cm x 10 cm, .9 m tall) to make a bin.
It is much easier to work with than chicken wire,
since it stands up on its own, it is readily available
and cheap. A 12' 6" (3.75 m) length gives you the
volume you want. A bin is nice because it keeps
material together, but it isn't really necessary. But
since folks insist on a 'bin', we provide one.

We are in Zone 7 and have lots of rainfall, so we
don't worry too much about cold in winter or lack of
rain in summer. So, no pits here. If cold is a
problem, I like the 'covered bridge' brand composter,
a relatively inexpensive plastic composter. Knowing
c.g. budgets (or lack of), dirt also works as
insulation, as do bags of leaves (which you can put
into the compost in the summer).

Anyway, that's my take. Personally, these days, I do
my 'straight' leaf and garden stuff composting in a
windrow about 4 m long (and growing) and have a big
outdoor worm farm in two covered bridge composters for
kitchen scraps.

So imho don't build a big compost contraption - just
make compost. Unless you all _want_ to build a big
contraption (just don't use treated wood, please). If
you are blessed with builders, why not build one of
those cool casitas instead, and have a place to hang
out in the shade with your friends?

Now, my question. What's happening with ACGA's
physical 'location'? Are we now a 'virtual' group?
Anything we can do to help, at this point?

Sunny day today, got my sugar peas in!

Don Boekelheide
Charlotte, NC

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