I love manure, the older and smellier the better. The odour is a gardener’s delight. I am lucky as there is a stable just down the road and I can fill up a trailer anytime for $10.00. It’s hard work shovelling, especially if it’s a bit wet, and my boots tend to make a bit of a mess inside the car after I have finished. My wife loves the smell, I think not.
The Greenfield Shredder is probably the most useful piece of equipment that I have, as it shreds just about everything and never clogs up. I have learnt that about the only thing not to put in are the fibrous plants like gingers and heliconias.
My ideal compost consists of manure, lawn clippings, shredded material, crusher dust, urea and blood and bone. Leave for a few months and you end up with great compost.
I do not turn the heap over as my heaps tend to be too big and also I do not have the space to put the turned over material, so doing it my way just takes a little while longer to compost. Instead of turning the heap over I place 90mm stormwater pipes both horizontally and vertically within the compost heap with lots of holes drilled into them and a cover over the ends. While it’s not as quick as turning the heap over it does let the air in to circulate and accelerates the composting process.
I do not put the vegetable scraps on the heap as we have two large areas where we breed compost worms, so all the household scraps go to feed the worms – no meat or fish of course.
You realise the value of composting when you think back to what our soil was like initially, where the developers had scraped and sold all the topsoil on our estate leaving only clay top. Our soil is now a rich dark loam that grows many tropical plants, thanks to many years of composting and mulching.