zondag 28 december 2014

Air helps the ripening process.

Like making cheese.

"Compare it with making cheese," Hendrik said. "You make the cheese in a day. And as soon as it comes out of the brine the next day, it needs to ripen for some time. So we make the compost in 3 months. And as soon as it comes out of the big bag it actually is a virgin compost. It needs to ripen a bit."

Well ripened non-sifted compost.

When you aerate the compost after it comes from the big bag, the ripening will evolve rather fast. Because the air helps the ripening process and allows the compost to dry.

When you pile up the 'virgin compost' in a dry place only, without aerating it from time to time, it will take about 4 to 6 months to ripen. Then it has dried and is well spreadable.
That this ripening takes more time is not so much a problem, but we did not expect it to take so long. Just now we discovered how long it took, because we had some cubic meters in store, that we did not need right away.

This 'virgin compost' was in store from august this year... to end up as a very well ripened compost this month. It was shoveled in the big green bags directly from the trough (the first photo above). This was enough to crumbled it even more.

Earlier we used the 'virgin compost' directly from the big bag, when we needed it and could not wait. We used it on the bottom of the pot with older compost on top. A bigger plant, with a good root system, will use up all the food that it needs. We reuse what is left, as a potting soil for less eat-avid plants, or to make a new compost mix.

We do not use any mechanization in our process of composting. It is not because we do not want to. We simply do not have the proper machinery. In stead we use time.

In our company, years ago, we used a simple manure spreader to aerate the 'virgin compost'. We stored this product for one month or two under a roof. Then it could be sieved easily in a drum sieve, to be ready to go to the customer at that direct moment:

To be clear... this aerating áfter composting is quite something else than the aeration while composting... during the bacterial composting process... which is the actual process which needs to turn the grasses into compost.

When you aerate (any organic material) in the middle of the bacterial process (to calm down heating for instance) you will lose your organic matter. It will vanish (by conversion) into the air in the form of carbon dioxide, CO2. Besides, it will not calm down heating instead. Yes, temperatures will drop for a short moment, to heat up even more, because of the oxygen you bring in. This process can go on, until all the organics are used up. And precisely that organic material is what you like to preserve.

But ... grasses are in the 'lucky' circumstance that they can not and need not be aerated. With what ever machine or fork in your hand... You will hardly be able to handle these grasses, that will strangle you and your equipment.
A pile of grass certainly contains enough oxygen to get into composting. To do this you need not to aerate it. You can control the process perfectly, in advance, with manure (grafting fluid) at the start. Then you can isolate it from the environment (pack and cover) and leave it to its fate for a few months.

However, there is a trick to shorten loose grass stems. It is the same trick, which is used in the wool industry, in order to card sheep wool. It requires an extra large investment. And why?

This intractability is what makes grasses so difficult to compost. You just need to use the right method. Let the bacteria do there work... they like it.

'Why immerse materials before composting?' and
'About composting grasses. How I do it.'
tell more about this.



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