A Composting How-to

Compost is good. Making compost at home or at work is relatively easy and can be done on a small scale.

Create living soil from urban foraged materials using a sequence of techniques optimized for speed and efficiency. Probiotic soil can be made using bokashi, microbial inoculants, mushrooms, and red wigglers.

  • Innoculate spent coffee grounds with bokashi (2 weeks)
  • Mix with straw, leaves, wood chips, etc. (2 weeks)
  • Add mixed mushroom scraps (2-3 weeks)
  • Repeat & add to the bin in layers
  • Turn & mix
  • After it cools add worms (2 months)
  • I developed an anaerobic inoculant based on bokashi grown on spent coffee grounds. Once established the inoculated coffee became vigorous like a good sourdough starter. I used the same coffee (Hair Bender) from the same roaster (Stumptown) procesed by the same chain of coffee house (Fresh Flours). The starter softens the coffee grounds and lays a foundation for the processes downstream.

    Straw, leaves, wood chips, etc. are inoculated with the starter and allowed to sit. Once it cools, mushroom scraps from several sources are mixed. The mixture is sits for several weeks while mycellium grow throughout. Using a compost thermometer the activity is monitored and after it cools, the pile is turned.

    Once everything has been eaten and digested by a succession of living creatures, red worms are added. Because red wigglers eat what grows on organic material rather than the material itself, using microbial, mycorhizaal, and fungal agents, they tear through an innoculated compost bin quickly leaving high quality soil in their wake.

    Working in stages, the transformation from coffee grounds, straw, leaves, wood chips, etc. happens quickly and thoroughly. The end result is a living soil, rich in nutrients and full of microbes, mycellium and other entities that work symbiotically with plants, increasing their growth and health.

    Being vegan (no manure) there’s no need to monitor the temperature in order to kill pathogens (E coli et al.). While coffee grounds and mushroom scraps are food, they seem to have little to no rodent appeal.

    More about composting...

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