Monday, July 7, 2008

The Other 'Black Gold'

Compost. Claire Foster. Recommended.

As I recently mentioned in the Self-Sufficient Life post, there are many topics and skills that may be beneficial to learn, and most are complex enough to warrant their own book (maybe several) and perhaps a lot of trial and error to become proficient. This topic is fairly straight forward, yet has some nuances that I discovered in this book.

This particular book is a great little primer that pretty much tells you everything you need to know about creating your own compost. First, let's review some of the benefits:

  1. Recycles organic waste
  2. Reduces landfill pressure
  3. Organically increases soil productivity
  4. Lessens need for chemical fertilizers
  5. Nutrient dense
  6. Saves money

If done correctly, the few drawbacks (odor, unsightliness, animals) can be pretty much eliminated. This book will help you to do just that.

After covering the basics, the author delves into soil science for two chapters. Physical and chemical composition of soil is covered in quick, yet informative prose. The next chapter covers exactly what ingredients you should and should not use in your compost concoction. Compost bin and container design is then examined in good detail, giving pros and cons for many types of applications and situations. Finally, the author outlines the prevailing methods for combining your ingredients and container, as well as maintenance of your pile. Worm composters and green manure are also covered in slight detail.

This is a great reference for composting. It is short (abt 100 pgs) and to the point, but holds many good ideas and tips that will increase the productivity of your composting experience. The moral of the story: there is no right or wrong way to compost, and it will take care of itself in most cases. If you wish to speed up and maximize the process, this book will help you.

I have had a simple compost pile for several years now. This year I upgraded to a commercial plastic bin. It certainly allows for a larger amount of material to be processed, mostly due to the increased heat and improved geometry. By the end of the year, I should have quite a large amount to improve my soil.

1 comment:

polybore said...

Yummy compost. I use a worm accelerated equivalent you might be interested in