Below I’ve attached a series of time lapse pictures displaying the progress of a large compost pile. This post I called compost “evolution” because it’s a demonstration plot of the things I’ve been learning as I’ve worked on the pile. Along the way, for example, you’ll notice the pile look less like a hill and more like a box; a reflection of learning from Grow Biointensive that in order to retain heat and maximize the process, the square is better than the “wasted” space of a hill that spreads out the heat. Instructional videos one and two linked. Several pictures show random PVC pipe and heating ductwork in the pile. As I turn the pile (once weekly), I stick the pipes in on the bottom of the pile, then build the pile around the pipes, and finally pull the pipes out when I’m done stacking. This makes vents in the pile, which gives greater aeration to the pile and enables the transfer of heat more readily across the pile, which keeps everything “cooking” more evenly.
This pile is an important element in my life of applied learning; theory leading to action, and action leading to theory on a loop of growth. Thinking and action lead to real wisdom and knowledge that offers real solutions to important questions of life.
This pile is, in a number of ways (billions of them, micro-organisms that is) a legacy project. It is an investment in the future of Norwood that I will never reap the full benefits of; and that is good for my soul.
The pictures show about two months of more intensive management of the pile to move it from passive composting to hot composting (temperature consistently at or around 165 degrees, primarily because I’ve got some animal poo in there with some pathogens to kill off). I also include some up close pictures for the viewer to see how leaves, grass, horse-dog-cat poo, snica, and water get together and make awesomeness.