This Saturday Gold Coast Permaculture held a free workshop for community gardeners.
We were introduced to the soil food web, beginning with bacteria soils primary food, fungi the decomposers, protozoa the predators, and the micro and macro shredders.
In nature each of these components work together to create strong systems which support the plants within those systems.
Compost also uses these components to create a nutrient rich mix that adds to the soil and the strength of food plants.
The compost mound needs to be a meter square and is built up using alternate layers of nitrogen and carbon rich materials.
Nitrogen layers can be manure and green cuttings including grass, weeds and flowers whose seeds will be killed by the heat of the compost mound.
Carbon layers can be sawdust, newspaper, woodchips and leaves.
Each layers is moistened to a wet sponge level. Too much water and compost will begin to smell.
The bacteria, fungi and other components of the food web will create the compost for you.
A mound of this size will need to be turned at least three times in a month, maybe four or five times.
If it does becomes too wet and begins to smell it will require more carbon.
It should be at a temperature of 55 to 60 degrees.
One way to test if it is too hot and needs to be turned is to put your hand in. If you can leave it in for more than three seconds is not necessary to turn.
Take the cooler material from the outside and basically turn the whole mound around.
Mounds require a covering but sometimes are left uncovered in dry weather.