Composting at FESPP
Last Thursday, a group of volunteers worked hard together to maintain the compost bins at our garden.
The concept is simple: organic matter breaks down and becomes soil. However, the organic matter created within the community garden needs help along the way since the urban garden is not a natural habitat. One of our gardeners, Jane, has some experience with composting, and she explained the work that needed to be done for the evening.
On weeding days, gardeners produce a fresh pile of weeds that we initially pile up to the side of the compost bins to allow them to dry out. On compost trimming days, gardeners cut up the weeds into smaller pieces to help the break down process. As the pile of chopped weeds fills the bin, it becomes a “resting” pile which does not receive new compost, and it becomes turned every so often to introduce oxygen and help the aerobic respiration process. Without the turning, the process can become anaerobic which causes methane gas and other nasty odors!
Once the compost has broken down enough, it can be sifted to remove the larger chunks that need more breaking down, and it can be added back to the garden as wonderfully nutritious soil !!! This pile may look humble, but it took a year and many volunteer hours in the making.
Jane also brought out a fancy compost thermometer to check the temperatures. It’s important for the compost heap to reach high temperatures, preferably 140 deg F so that microbes are killed off.
Thank you Jane for teaching us about compost, and thank you to all the volunteers that came out to work! Our garden is built with your labor and love.