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Composting Comparison — 5 Comments

  1. Sounds like a lot of heavy-duty work, but I bet that compost is excellent. And what a great stone wall behind it! I once built a stone wall, and looking at yours, I can imagine it was a labour-intensive project.

  2. Oh! Compost envy here! I know how hard work collecting seaweed is. That’s pretty similar to my compost making. One year to build, one year to mature On a slightly smaller scale. I do a fair amout of ‘chop and drop’: composting in situ as mulch layer, particularly in the polytunnel.

    • J > Ah, a good question. First thing to say is that, as the garden is that the sea is literally just across the road from us, and the weather for 6-7 months of the year is very stormy, there is salt everywhere! (For much of the winter, even our landward-facing windows are coated with salt spray!) Until a couple of years ago, it was our practice to put about a third of the seaweed we gathered directly on the ground as a mulch – around fruit bushes, over dormant rhubarb ; that is, to feed perennials. Excellent as a mulch in all respects, except – we begun to believe – that the high concentration of salt resulted in poorer quantity and quality of Rhubarb, poor results from Jerusalem Artichoke, lack of vigour in Black- and Red-currants. We decided to go a year without mulching, instead adding all seaweed to the compost heap, and then having more finished compost, with enough to use as a mulch. This has been the first year with compost-mulches, and the results justify the change. Although the quantity of seaweed we get is considerable, it’s only about half as much as the kitchen and garden waste, ie about a third of the total. Also, the year spent in the ‘old’ compost heap results in a lot of salty liquor draining down into the ground, plus some dilution from nearly a year’s worth of rain falling on the heap (though the old carpet sheds much of the water – we don’t want all the goodness washed away too!). We believe this new way of working both reduces the amount of salt and spreads it around thinly, so that the compost we spread is no more salty than the ambient condition – ie from salt driven onland by storms.

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