Breaking Down the FLAT Compost

Composting is a simple idea. Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled into fertilizer as a soil amendment. At a very simple level, it requires making a pile of wet organic matter (green waste) and then waiting for the materials to decay and break down into humus over the course of months and seasons.

Existing composting bins
Existing Composting Bins

The UM FLAT has been steadily composting food waste, chicken straw and manure, and other organic inputs over the last handful of years. One of our residents is about to “break it down”, however, and take our compost and waste materials to a new level of efficiency and understanding. The purpose behind this soil-loving FLATmate’s project is to collect more data and develop a strategy for effectively using our food waste at the FLAT as a garden amendment. The project is underway already, and we’ve got a nice new composting spot next to our chicken run. Come to one of our events this spring and take a look!

New Cinder Block Compost Bins
New Cinder Block Compost Bins

This project will require FLAT residents to closely monitor compost temperature during composition and to create a set of composting guidelines to more efficiently manage how we amend our garden using food waste.   Residents will take turns this spring managing our waste, turning our compost piles more regularly (three day intervals!), maintaining appropriate moisture levels, and using our neat data loggers to record temperatures. Once the temperature stops rising after turning, we’ll be prepared to discontinue turning our compost piles and let them sit to ferment and ripen.  There’s always a lot of growth happening at the UM FLAT, but this spring and summer we’re really focusing on replenishing our soil, garden, and home for the future.


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