Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont offers over 80 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design. Now in its 35th year, Yestermorrow is one of the only design/build schools in the country, teaching both design and construction skills. Our hands-on 1-day to 3-week workshops, certificate programs and semester programs are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Playing with Garbage

The kitchen/garden and design/build interns recently revamped the compost system at Yestermorrow with the help of board member and instructor Buzz Ferver and Dave Warren, our facilities manager.

The current bin system that was in use was far away from the garden and difficult to turn. The new pile system (or as Buzz calls it, the Compost Happens System) is an improvement in the following ways:
1) Less manual labor is needed; no one needs to turn the pile and since the compost is sited in the garden, there will be no need to haul finished compost to the garden; and
2) The compost is sited in the garden, which means that the soil underneath the compost pile will be extremely fertile and loose when the pile is ready to be spread.

It can be a bit of a bummer when it's 20 degrees below zero outside since the new compost pile is so far away from the kitchen. However, everyone still has all of their fingers.

How it Works
Clear the ground and lay straw or woodchips down in a thin layer. Start layering the compost in, lasagnaing kitchen waste with sprinklings of dirt, hay, or woodchips. Wet as necessary. Since so many people come and go, we're going to try to be really on the ball about record keeping by naming the pile something like “Your Name 1.”

When the compost gets to be about a 3X3’ or 4X4’ pile, which should take 3 to 4 months, we'll cover it with sawdust and then label the pile so that the following group of interns know when the compost will be ready. It will be ready a year from when it is done being built. When that pile is done, we'll start a new pile. Throughout the year, 3 to 4 compost piles will be sitting at any one time.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:56 AM

    It is nice to finally figure out that composting doesn't have to be a huge chore, no? Gene Logsdon's writings and a few friends of mine who are into soil luckily taught me that.

    Good luck! And, great post.