Friday, May 12, 2017

A Composting System for Small Horsefarms

This is one of the first projects the RoadQueen and I took on last year when we were getting our horse farm up and running.  While she is the equine expert I simply enjoy building things and being a gardener I can appreciate a system that yields wagons full of cured compost for my garden.

We found plans and theory of operation for this system from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension and the Oklahoma State University. Here is the pdf. 

Some of the materials we already had on hand. These were panels of heavy stock fencing, T-posts and a pile of pea gravel to make a raised base to keep the manure pile up off the ground. To cover the gravel we laid heavy one inch thick rubber stall mats to make forking and shoveling easier.  I fabricated corner brackets to connect and stiffen the 2 x 12 frame from 1/16" aluminum.

We started adding to the bin right away from stall clean outs and paddock area.  The key is to continue to add to the pile mixing in fresh manure to the older stuff working towards the open end of the bin.  After 11 months we had the bin about three quarters full.

Over time microorganisms and bacteria worked their magic and now I am forking out beautiful black gold to fortify my garden soil.

Unfortunately we don't have a tractor with a front end loader yet so all the lifting is done by hand and I use a small garden tractor and cart to transport the compost to my garden.  While shoveling shit is not the least bit glamorous or fun I'll still take it over the boring repetition of lifting weights in a gym.


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