Laverstoke Park Farm is a UK site with specialised knowledge of Elaine Ingham’s methods. Sadly their farm shop has closed, we dropped by on route back from holiday last week in the hope of buying a bag of their compost (to inoculate our soil and compost heaps), but no joy, so we’ll email them in the hope of being able to buy a bag or two, or maybe even visit (it looks fantastic!)
We had invested recently in a small compost tea brewer which Laverstoke Park developed, to learn more about how it is done, before we try this on a bigger scale. We have used compost extract rather than compost tea to date as it is easier and safer.
The kit is basically a 3W aquarium pump, an air stone and bucket
The kits came with some microbes in a tube, but the tube seemed to be out of date. Sadly our first attempt with this mix failed as the pump fell from its perch (no harm done, fortunately) and this, admittedly early aborted, brew didn’t appear to contain much exciting under the microscope.
We are now going to wait until we have some promising Oak Tree compost (from heap 160901 , or heap 160910 if either look good under the microscope) or have some Laverstoke Park compost before we try using the brewer again. We’ll keep you posted!
This heap heated up far more successfully than any of our previous heaps! and we look forward to putting some of the matured compost (when it has dropped ambient temperature) under the microscope. We put this sucess down to the pelleted chicken manure pellets mixed into a slurry with water which raised the temperature dramatically!
It is possible the fast high burn rate of the early stages has exhausted the material, or that some was pasteurised at 74C?
After the drama of needing to turn this heap very early on a Sunday morning (we had obviously overdone the chicken manure slurry) it heated up over the day so we turned again at about 19:30 Sunday evening.
This time we left off the insulation around the outside of the container, though retained the insulation in the top made of bundled up mypex woven black weed control fabric.
This graph shows the temperature against time/date of a new heap that included a slurry of pelleted chicken manure, as explained in this earlier post. There is a gap in the data near the top of the graph – Richard had an upper limit of 70C on the data logger which he swiftly raised as a result!! You may notice that the rapid rise of temperature to danger point happened at approximately 5.30 am on a Sunday morning. Yes, this meant that Joanne woke Richard at this time to tell him, “the heap is going anerobic!!!” (very worrying and could cause a fire!) so we rushed up to the farm to turn it…!
New heap declared, using about a third of a 20kg bag of pelleted chicken manure dissolved in water to a liquid/slurry, to see if raising the N will help with the fade problem that affected heap 160901
We used only about 3/4 of one wheelie bin of wood chip so mental note to only prepare one next time for the black plastic composting container!
Allocated transmitter AT with fresh batteries today (for monitoring temperature).
The whole heap was pressed down and then insulated with two lengths of black plastic above heap, and another length wrapped round fairly loosely to allow airflow. Used mist sprayer to wet all except pre-soaked woodchip and the chicken shit slurry.
Although the temperature profile wasn’t up to scratch this heap has rotted down well, so it was turned into the small container to free up the big container for the next heap. Temperature sensors were reallocated to heap 160910 but box AS retained and long probe inserted, second probe is set to monitor ambient.