The Mini Berkeley

Composting at The MountainLab

My first stab at The Berkeley Method of composting at the ‘MountainLab’.

I have christened it “The Mini Berkeley” :-)

It’s only about half the height I wanted to get to, following the Berkelely Method. And, I’ll only be able to get here once a week to turn it, aaannddd, I was a little bit lazy chopping things down to the right size.

But, we’ll see what happens.

Some observations after turning it for the first time on Day 4/5.

Temperature was only up to about 45C somewhere near the middle.

That made me think back to the manure we collected last week from the equestrian club half way down the mountain from here. Lots of sawdust / wood chips already mixed in it – I guess they just scrape up what’s on the floor in the stables, and/or add more carbon before they pile it. So. I might need to source something with a bit more of a Nitrogen kick in the future…. more urine, or some chicken manure if I can get hold of it locally in the future.

The first turn today, I’ve added in wood ash from 3 fires we had last night, and a bunch of coffee grounds and kitchen choppings somewhere near the middle.  I’d already added in a few shovel-fulls of soil from the raised beds here too from different spots, so that might help, seeding it with some microorganisms, hopefully the good guys.

About half the guests last night were male, and they’ve all done their PDC, so they weren’t too taken aback when I told them “I need your nitrogen” ;-)

So I had a few litres of …’Golden Gold’ to add to my budding pile of ‘Black Gold’ this morning after I turned it inside out. That mostly went in the middle.

I’m hoping that bumps the temperature up a bit, and I’ll see what the thermometer says tomorrow before I head back down to the city. I’m curious how much the temperature will change in 24 hours.

It’s down at 25C now, after several good dowsings as I was turning it with cold mountain spring water.

Still, 45C….was hot enough for it to at least look a bit steamy today ;-).