Saturday, May 24, 2008

Compost Happens, and You Can Waller in It, Too

Me loading my new compost sifter
Photo by: Beccano

After mowing and watering, I spent the rest of the day today building this compost sifter. I found a set of plans to fit a standard wheelbarrow here, but I didn’t want to bend over that much. So I modified the plans to fit my planting table. (Yes, that is a recycled shower pan.)

Other than one piece of 2x4 and the ½-inch hardware cloth, it is made of recycled materials. (There is an interesting story about the guy who worked in Home Depot’s hardware department not knowing what hardware cloth is, but I’ll save that for another time.) Later, I found another 2x4 in the scrap pile that would have let me say this sifter was made of 100% recycled wood. Sigh.

Heaving the unfinished compost into the wheelbarrow
Photo by: Beccano

I put two forks of compost in the tray. As I move the tray back-and-forth with some gusto, the finished compost falls through the hardware cloth onto the planting table. I dump what remains into the wheelbarrow. I repeat the process. This time, I leave the tray in the wheelbarrow and scrape all of the finished compost down the drain. It falls into a small bucket on the tray under the table. Three of the small buckets fills a large cat litter container, and I take the finished compost to wherever I want to distribute it.

These Queen Victorias are some of the happy plants getting ready to bloom.

It took a little over two hours today for me to process my whole pile and distribute the finished compost. The plants all said, “Thank you, Lee.” I heard them.

Once I finish working the pile, I put fresh compostables (from cleaning out the fridge) at the bottom and move all of the unfinished compost from the wheelbarrow and other temporary storage devices back into the pile.


Sam said...

LOVE this set up. We have been composting for 15+ years but have never been smart enough to put something like this together. That means there is much pitchforking and grunting as we try to turn it over, add soil to keep it covered and haul it out to mix and mulch.

Kudos to you!!

Lee said...

Thanks, Sam. I’ve been using a sifter for a few years now, but I never thought of building a tray until I found the plans. This system doesn’t eliminate the forking and grunting, but it sure makes the job a lot easier. Plus the finished product looks so much better.

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