Lazy Composting: Let Nature Do Your Work


In my last post, Rule Breaking Gardening, we discussed how to break new gardening ground using lazy compost piles over the new area in which you want to garden.  In this post we’ll look at a couple of other ways to let nature do your work of composting – one fast, and one slow.  We’ll also review the original lazy compost pile method.

Quick Chicken Composting

Watching our birds one morning we realized that chickens like to turn compost, but we don’t.  Chickens delight in searching for worms and bugs.  Why were we turning our compost piles and stealing all this joy from our poultry flock?  Choosing a downhill corner of the permanent chicken yard, we edged the area with straw bales to isolate a corner created by the fence.  Adding chicken wire to the lower part of the fence kept what we threw in the corner from falling out.

You can do this too in an easy afternoon.  Your kitchen scraps get thrown in that pile.  Excess garden vegetables go in.  After a surprise rain shower, damp hay and straw go there as well.  Tomato and apple skins from canning end up there.  Dying flower and vegetable plants go in.  No matter what you throw in, the chickens are happy to dig through it looking for treats.  They eat some of the vegetable matter.  The rest they churn over and over, creating a perfect environment for worms and sow bugs who help them with the composting process.  Spring through fall your busy chickens will create loose, black compost in under two months. 

To use this wonderful dirt, keep two piles so that after a few weeks new scraps go in the new pile while the old one is finished up by the chickens before you use it.

Blog2  chicken compost photo

Super-Slow Bedding Compost

We raise chickens, guineas, and sheep.  The birds sleep in a coop at night where we use a deep-bedding system of pine shavings.  During the winter, and during early spring lambing, the sheep are housed in an open barn with a deep-bedding of straw.  All the animals create quite a lot of partially composted dirty bedding by the end of cold weather. 

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