This year I bought a third black dalek compost bin. You see, a girl can’t have too many compost bins. This one I have christened Bob, because he’s for horse manure. I’ve been making my own compost for years, but things don’t grow spectacularly and I think it is because I need to improve soil fertility. So earlier this year we stuck a notice on Facebook asking for well rotted manure. An obliging horse owner replied and said he had bags of the stuff. Fifteen bags. I had a lovely afternoon spreading manure on the beds to celebrate passing my PhD viva. Only it was still a little bit – well, smelly. I’m sure the plants didn’t mind too much (I can’t say the same for the neighbours) but ideally it would be a bit better rotted. So I looked up how to compost horse manure, and found this detailed article. In essence (lots of essence) you layer up horse manure with carbon rich material such as leaves and paper.
I was getting behind on my admin, so this gave me a reason to get lots of shredding done. I was destroying old financial papers. Making compost with them is a satisfying redefinition of ‘value’. My neighbours gave me sacks of shredded leaves. Mr Horse Owner donated ten more bags of the brown stuff. Everyone was delighted to be giving me what is otherwise a ‘problem’ for them to dispose of. And then Bob the Bin arrived. My stage was set.
I lay sheets of thick cardboard at ground level, then alternated layers of manure, leaves, and shredded paper. The above article says to turn the heap often, so I’m due to get out there this week, give it all a good mix up, and see how its doing. The idea is to keep it hot. When it stops getting hot, it is done. So there’s a job to keep me warm this winter.