K recently picked up some wood pallets intending to use them to stack our wood on. We ended up with enough for the woodpile and a new compost bin. We added the new pallet compost bin near the current bin. It's open now because I will be sifting compost for a while. But another pallet will be place on the right to close up the bin when not in use.
|New Pallet Compost Bin|
The old bin is just a few years old and is made of some stakes and wire. Usually my compost is made from mostly leaves, garden debris, and kitchen waste. It doesn't have enough nitrogen to heat up the pile and can take a while to finish. I only turn the pile over once a year while I dig out some finished compost from the bottom of the pile. I screen out the compost and return the larger pieces to the pile.
Part of the benefits to owning backyard chickens is the free manure they produce. According to The University of Missouri Extension's "Urban Chicken Manure Management" article, one hen can generate 80-pounds of manure a year. Multiply that by 6 hens and I will have 480 pounds of manure to add to my compost bin. This amount doesn't include litter. When I read these facts, I knew I needed more space. It was time for a compost bin expansion.
The addition of chicken manure will heat up my compost hotter than ever before. Chicken manure is high in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Fresh chicken manure can burn plants if it's applied without composting first. If the compost is turned regularly is can finish in 4-6 months. It will take 6-12 months to finish when composting the lazy way.
|Compost Dug Out from the Bottom|
I began sifting the current compost to add to the garden. There is some lovely finished compost on the bottom of the pile but it contains a lot of small sitcks. As I sift the compost, the unfinished leaves and larger chunks are layered into to new compost bin. Once emptied, the wire compost bins will be used to hold leaves and other carbon to layer in with the chicken manure. I hope with time to develop an organized system of holding pens, compost in progress, and finished compost.