Composting

On our hobby farm we have animals ranging from chickens, goats, and horses. We also have numerous live oak trees which shed their foliage in a continuous cycle.

We strive to keep our animals healthy and at times the grounds can be a sight with all the fallen leaves. We are never without composting materials.

Composting at Tarolyn is a routine part of our day. It’s all in a days work.

We begin our day by attending to our chickens. They are maintained in a small area where they have a yard of their own. We found this protects them from predators and we don’t have to chase them down all the time. Using our mulch we add this to their yard where they can scratch and find things to nibble on during the day. This method is called the Deep Litter Method.

Being that the chickens are confined they require fresh bedding to scratch in daily. The pen area is cleaned about 2 to 3 times per year giving us fresh composted material to apply back into the garden.

Next, we visit the goats to ensure they have what they need for the day. Raking out their quarters, all is gathered together and raked off to a mound where it is allowed to sit. This is a mix of dirt, hay and goat berries. Goat berries don’t breakdown easily so we allow them to sit over time. The mound is then mowed over once or twice during the summer to create a finer mix of compost material. Our strawberry patch is located next to the goat stalls. They enjoy the run off from the pen and produce delicious fruit.

Now we come to the horses. This is our largest area of operation concerning composting. We have two horses, each producing approximately 50lbs of waste per day.  We manage a small farm so it is necessary to contain all this waste.

compost

compost

You may be asking yourself, “what do you do with all that?”. We use it, we sell it.

How many different ways can you use compost?

First and foremost, it is applied back into the garden to produce delicious vegetables and beautiful flowers. What appears nasty to us is wonderful for the plants. Considering the fact that our soil is sandy and acidic, we want to give our young plants the nutrients they need to thrive and produce.

mustardgreens1112 003

Second: Horse manure is comprised mostly of water. It is collected and brought to the mound to be thatched and sifted. Then it’s allowed to dry in the sun. Once it is dry it is shoveled on the mound. This is used as an absorbent material. After a strong rain it is spread over the standing water to absorb. It is also used to absorb areas saturated by the horses-to remove moisture and odor. There are a few odors that do offend my olfactory nerves. We have even used this absorbing compound for cat litter. It contains no odor and works very well.This is also excellent material for growing mushrooms. The sun bakes out any bacteria, it is light weight for shipping purposes, add water and watch your edible mushrooms thrive.

We are in the process of exploring “horsey bricks”. These bricks can be used as another form of fuel. I had met someone who told me a story of when they were young. They grew up in Kentucky and as a boy, he and his friends would bag up horse manure to sell for fuel. This planted the seed. Below is pictured our first “horsey brick“. I’ve linked the caption of the photo so that you may investigate this for yourself.

We still have further testing on the manure brick. Once it is dried we will be testing for length of burn time and odor. This brick is comprised mainly of fresh manure with small dirt granules and small hay pieces. Since the weather has cooled we are sun-drying for about 1 week and protecting them at night from any additional moisture with a vented cover to allow air to circulate.  The linked article suggests that one brick will provide 1 hour of burn time and that it is less expensive than using wood for fuel. We will be posting our results.

If you care to explore composting further

here is one diagram in pdf for continuouscomposting

Our compost is available at $10.00 per yd/screened. We offer a 10% discount on your pickup of over 5 yards.  We ask that you bring your own tools. Below is a calculator for you to use that you may gauge the amount you need.

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7 thoughts on “Composting

  1. Pingback: Some Science and Composting | Tarolyn Farms

  2. Pingback: Does Your Rake make the Grade? | Tarolyn Farms

  3. Pingback: An Experiment in Back Yard Sustainability « Family Survival Protocol

  4. Pingback: Horse Manure Fuel Bricks put to the Test-Does it Work? | Tarolyn Farms

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