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I ran away from teaching to the country to grow veggies. There are also some chooks and a pair of troublesome goats who were so much trouble they had to go! My simple green life isn't always as simple or as green as I'd like...but I keep trying!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


You gotta love goats.  They are such good turners.  They spend all day turning food into shit gold!  No seeds survive the journey through goats' four stomachs... so their manure is perfect for composting.

Talking of composts, I had the traditional three bay compost system going.  The front of the bays had reinforcing mesh and they were divided the same way.  Now I have, more than once, cursed the walls and the front of my bays. They made it hard to combine piles and turning them often ended with skinned knuckles and cursing...I am very good at cursing.

Bush chick blogged about their compost which was just one big space housing three piles.  
Aha! A light bulb moment for Hazel.

I have overhauled the composts with the help of my feathered friends.
First I combined two piles.  They are cool now and the worms and other bugs are doing their job.  I took down the front and made a new pile.

This is the new pile.  The gate is temporary, to hold the pile in place until it amalgamates.

Note the fork (or as one visiting wag described a Thork because it only has 3 tines).  Yep, it is now the compost tool.

Under the grey carpet is the amalgamated pile which will be ready for winter plantings. And on the right, the new pile.  In the middle there is room to turn one of these piles into before I make a new one.

As always the composition of the new pile is grass clippings, household scraps, straw and manure.  

Footnote:  I went out yesterday morning only 14 hours after assembling this compost, and it was extremely hot already.  I could put my hand a little way into it but could not leave it there as it was too hot.   I don't think I have had one that hot before.  The only thing I did differently was to add a container of home made liquid fertilizer.  Maybe it was full of good microbes. 


  1. your compost looks great...and goat poo, that is sure going to do some good.
    I have a pumpkin planted in my comopost at the moment......I use a two bay system,,but have never managed it like you are describing here...I am a 'chuck' it on and leave it kind a girl...

  2. Thanks for this Hazel, its a light bulb for me too. I am about to undertake some major infrastructural work in my vege garden and like the idea of the corrugated iron behind the compost too. Will definitely try that.

    Also thanks for your comment on my beloved Willo's "What's in a Name".

    Warm regards,

    Rodney Ravenswood

  3. I cant wait to have chickens scratch up the compost!
    Youre a great source of inspiration Hazel!

  4. Now you're taking!! Compost good enough to eat, well nearly!Glad to hear the goats are earning their keep and have proved their place in the Hazel Dene Ecosystem.
    Like the header!

  5. What a clever idea..Put the chickens to work!!! Worthwhile investment arn't they...I have never thought of using my chickens to help scratch up my compost..and what a treat for them too, it would be full of all sorts of hidden goodies.... :)

  6. I'd love a goat Hazel, you sound like you are having so much fun with them, and they are proving themselves so useful.

    Poo away little goats!

  7. Mmmm! Goats!! Make sure you drop by tomorrow for a goaty update. Mmmm! Ali, you may change your mind.

  8. Goats have got some much attitude haven't they, and poop to burn!
    Great to hear you are enjoying your new friends

  9. In my little urban plot I have no opportunity for goats, I'm afraid, and space is so restricted that I rely on the upright plastic cylinder type of compost bin, which means I can't turn the compost at all. I do my best by wiggling it around with a long stick. Still, with the help of a massive worm population (you've seen my pics of this) I do manage to get some decent compost - and the main thing is it prevents all the veg trimmings etc having to be carted off to landfill.
    What's in the home-made liquid fertiliser, Hazel?

  10. I was hoping no one would ask what was in that container of homemade liquid fertilizer, Mark. But now you have I have to tell. It had some Hazel urine, some pelletised chook poo, comfrey leaves, ground charcoal...but that's from memory. There may have been more. It had been sitting for months and had turned red. It smelled disgusting and I wasn't game to use it on plants.

  11. I always have to buy fermented cow manure in a local home center... I envy you who are surrounded with an environment where you can see food chain.

  12. You just gave me some 'food' for thought on the composting. Go the chooks - the world would be so dull without them!

  13. I use a 9 foot "wide" bin for my composting. No lifting it over dividing walls for me. It is MUCH easier to turn, and therefore, it provides finished compost quicker and easier.

  14. wow, nice work! Composting has been my biggest "fail." Just haven't done it successfully ever, really. I am impressed by your success and its speed!

  15. great you got some good compost! and that you have very nice helpers too

  16. Hazel, I'm just hoping you're not planning to "go commercial" with the fertiliser recipe, though you make it sound mighty effective, so you may get some offers!

  17. Haha! Black gold :) I refer to them as raisins...

    I know it varies, but how long does it normally take for your compost heap to 'mature' ready for use?

  18. Hey !!! We have the same friend in our compost.

  19. Dear Mark or Gaz - It takes 4 - 6 weeks before it is ready to use. Making sure there is air getting in is a good way to speed up the process. I have a stick that i poke in and wiggle around to make holes about an inch across...lots. Now I have the new set up, I will just use the fork to turn it over into the next bay.


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