Composting Our Food Waste

Composting Our Food Waste

We have created a new thermal composting area specifically to compost the organic food waste and Orchard fruits such as apples and pears. One fruit we do not compost is peels from citrus fruits. There are a few reasons why we choose not to compost the citrus:

  • one – citrus peels take a lot longer to compost than other fruits,
  • two – many worms do not eat citrus peels,
  • three – avoid penicillium mold growing on the peel.

These are the steps taken for our compost:

  1. Spread a layer of dry materials (shredded leaves, paper, cardboard, or wood shavings) to the bottom of the box.
  2. Add food waste (note, no citrus peels).
  3. Add more dry materials and mix with a pitchfork.
  4. Test for the right moisture level of the mixture by doing a squeeze test where you squeeze the materials between your hands. Materials should clump together between your hands but no water should come out when squeezing.
    If it breaks apart it’s too dry, spray a little water or spray compost tea (see 7 below). If it’s dripping water, it’s too wet, add more dry materials.
  5. Once it passes the “moisture test,” cover it with a layer of dry materials and a cloth.
  6. 5-7 days later mix the materials with a pitchfork. Ideally, the temperature is close to or over 135f.
  7. We occasionally spray with a microbial inoculant such as EM-1 or Compost Tea.
  8. Remove the cloth, build another layer, and cover it with the cloth.
  9. Repeat these steps until the bin is full.
  10. After 6-8 months this will be beautiful compost.

When the cloth is used to cover the compost we take particular care to make it difficult for any “critters” to access the compost. Using bricks and stones to keep the cloth tight over the compost.