1 day ago
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Dirt. Plain old dirt.
Well, not really. This is compost, 40 yards of it, composed primarily of manure from the farm and large amounts of wood chips. The wood chips capture the nitrogen in the manure, and the combination makes this lovely black gold. This particular pile will go back into the greenhouse and be the basis for next years greenhouse crops.
When I windrow I'm careful to put a few inches of new chips on top of the compost. This helps to insulate the pile a little, to get to the magic 160 degrees for sterilizing the compost, and to keep any odors down. It really doesn't smell when you use enough carbon. You can compost animals in wood chips as well, but I don't do that in the pig pasture. The pigs would dig up the carcass and eat it.
Pigs are the only earthmoving equipment that increases in value as you use it. As Joe Salatin has said "Pigs go around with this sign on their heads: Will work for food!"
The pigs enjoy sleeping on the compost piles because of the heat generated, especially in the winter. The larger piles will maintain a working temperature inside even when covered with snow -- they look a bit like volcanoes, with a steaming plume. The pigs lay in the steam.
When this soil goes into the greenhouse you get some really lovely results. Like this, or this.