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My tremendously supportive husband & I have 3 wonderful children, 1 dog, 12 laying hens, 2 dairy goats, 3 bee hives, and a 2000 sq foot vegetable garden on a small 1/4 acre lot in the city. In the center of it all is our small 1,000 sq foot house purchased in 2008 as a foreclosure that we fully renovated to host our growing family, home school adventures, and small home business (CozyLeaf.com). We have a desire to learn a path to self sufficiency finding ways to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. We want to learn to live with less as we laydown roots to our little homestead.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Compost Screening

So todays project was Compost Straining. We currently have 4 compost rotations. Today I turned the 3rd compost into a strainer for the 4th station to be ready to lay into the beds for garden.

Really all you need is something to screen the larger particles out with, but I like to also use a shovel, a pair of leather work gloves (in case theres sharp objects in there...which there usually is) and a large bucket or trash can.

The process is simple and absolutely tons of fun for little kids so get them involved!!!

This rotation of compost has been rotated for about 6-8 months, just moving from 1 pile to another till it gets nice and rich.

Just shovel some dirt onto the screen (wood frame and 1/4" hardware cloth) and shake it around...tell the kids you are searching for little treasures and they will love picking out all the sticks and other items.

Once the screen is full or dirt, give it a good shake and spread it around with your hands if you need to until it gets all the good rich dirt out into the lower bucket.  Its suprising how many small sticks and things you will find...but just throw them back into another compost pile so they can break down more and eventually be dirt. 
I ended up being able to fill 2 large plastic trash cans with good rich composted soil and it will make a great addition to the garden. You can see from the picture to the left that its great loose soil! I decided not to screen it again but there are a few little twigs that went through the screen and are in the soil, but I kindof like it like that. We have heavy clay here in our yard so we are constantly trying to loosen it up by working more and more organic matter into the soil.
With several compost rotations you should be able to do this process every couple months so you can have a steady rotation of nice organic matter. 
Have fun and I hope you enjoy and get those kids involved they sure do love to learn :)  

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