We were invited to go to Deborah's property in Lovely Banks near Geelong to learn how to make a hot compost pile which we will be able to use later on our nature strips and gardens. It is a very simple process and the resulting compost has exceptional qualities. It has high levels of hummus and therefore can hold nutrients and water allowing for better plant growth. Some call it "black gold"
It really is a fantastic soil amendment as it increases microbial activity and soil fertility. It stores well and is easy to handle with no smell.
The finished mound
The special Altona ingredients that we brought were lots and lots of seaweed and coffee grounds as well as some mushroom compost.
Deborah had prepared an area and materials to use. There was some aged chicken litter( manure and saw dust) as well as grass clippings.
Basically to achieve a hot compost we needed a pile that would be at least 1 cubic meter and about the same amount of green and brown materials, ideally these would be chopped into small pieces.
We made layers using soil that has a high carbon content as we did not have newspapers or cardboard on hand. Straw could also be used.Each layer was watered thoroughly alternating between greens such as seaweed coffee and grass clippings and browns. That is all there is to it!
Watering in before the next layer
We also added in some activators and nutrient full stinging nettles and borage from the farm.
The compost will heat up within a few days and Deborah will turn it regularly with her reliable Fergie the red tractor so the heat is distributed properly and with the right amount of moisture it should be ready in a month or 2.
Adding soil for finishing touches
A week later and the compost is really hot and steamy