Well, we’re giving a shot at an early season compost harvest! Our spring harvest is always a bit challenging, since most of our compost pile is still frozen!
This is our finished “wood chip” compost that we talk about, where we hot compost in the summer and cold compost over the long winter. This composting stuff is hard, brutal work, so we only turn our piles once or maybe twice a year and harvest only once a year. This harvest is from the “third turn” as it were, so it’s looking really, really good.
When we harvest, we take our non-harvestable stuff and combine it back into our active piles. This supercharges the composting process, since all the microbes go back in with it. We kind of have to do this since our carbon source are wood chips and this material is extremely slow to break down. But, it does mean we get lots of uses out of that carbon and it allows us to process a ton of nitrogen with relatively little actual carbon source.
Don’t know if you’ve looked at the cost of compost lately, but this composting effort is starting to become satisfying and valuable labor! In roughly an hour’s work, just tonight’s small harvest is worth over $20 bucks! Composting used to be a labor of love, now it’s outright saving us some serious money. We’ll probably pull over 200 gallons from our current piles that are ready for harvest, over $150 worth!
These early harvests also help your piles thaw a little faster. We need this stuff by Memorial Day weekend as we use it to prep our community garden!
Link to our northern composting guide is below…