We use a lot of compost on the farm; for the past couple of years we have used something in the realm of 500 cubic yards!!! We use it to improve the texture and condition of our soil, which allows it to hold water and nutrients better, providing a better environment for our plants. Additionally, by adding as much as 4" to bed tops, we can dramatically decrease weed pressure. In years past, we have purchased some compost from the city, or another compost hauler who has hauled it in from other areas. We have generally been pleased with their products, but it is a large expense, sometimes is unavailable, and occasionally the quality has not been what we would like. For the past couple of years, due to a generous loan from some CSA members, we are making compost on a scale we’ve never attempted before; we are hauling dozens of loads of organic matter to the farm in our newly purchased dump trailer (thank you Farrs for the capital), windrowing it with a skidsteer which Hayden Equipment has loaned to us every few months (thank you Justin and Sarah), and monitoring it’s moisture and temperature to ensure high quality compost (click here to see a cool video of turning the compost). Some of this organic matter is getting passed through our pig house first, allowing the pigs to stir manure, food waste, animal bedding from the fairgrounds, and woodchips together into a uniform consistency, and then we move it out into the windrows. All this has been managed by David Baldwin, who has also found the time to repair countless small and large engine problems, overhaul the shop, weld lots of greenhouse stakes, and fabricate a bunch of different time and space saving devices for the farm. By moving our compost production to the farm we have access to more compost, more consistently. So far, our results are great; the finished piles are beautiful, and the large windrows are percolating along at 140 degrees, which means that we have a very active biological profile, so we will are adding lots of great microbes to our soil as we build our soil. By the way, we would love to have your yard waste as well; if you've got leaves or grass clipping to rake, we'd love it if you would bring them out to add to our windrows; you'll make our pigs and our worms super happy. We’re excited to be turning waste into great stuff for our soil.
Thanks, Farmer Curtis